There has been a slight increase in the number of sick days taken by NHS staff, latest official figures show.
NHS ambulance staff took the most days off sick last year, according to the figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Qualified ambulance staff in England were absent from work because of illness for an average of 14.7 days during 2012-13.
For all of the 1.05 million full time NHS staff in England, the average time off sick was 9.5 days - a slight rise from 9.3 days in 2011-12, the HSCIC said.
Nurses, midwives and health visitors took 10.6 days off sick in 2012-13. This is compared to 10.2 days in 2011-12 and 10.9 days in 2009-10.
Meanwhile, hospital doctors were absent because of sickness for an average of 2.8 days in 2012-13.
On any normal day during the 2012-13 financial year, around 4.24% of staff in the English health service were off sick, the figures show.
The higher paid the NHS worker, the fewer sick days they are likely to take, the data suggests.
Sue Covill, director of employment services at the NHS Employers organisation, said: “The significant pressures of a long cold winter, organisational restructuring and challenging expectations place additional pressures on staff and these are reflected in some of the figures published today.
“Employers will be exploring in detail why sickness absence has risen slightly and exploring how best to support their staff in the light of challenges faced.”
But she added: “It is important to put these figures in perspective. Major staff groups, including nurses, are taking less sick-leave now than at the beginning of the decade, and systems to support their health and wellbeing have undeniably improved.
“The simple fact is the NHS environment has become more challenging for everyone, making supportive approaches essential to mitigate the pressures and help staff work within them.”
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