NHS staff who injure their backs at work are costing the service over £400m a year – enough to employ 16, 000 nurses over the same period, according to a new publication from the charity BackCare.
The charity says every year over 800,000 nurses injure their backs while working and 3,600 healthcare workers are forced to retire early as a result.
It adds that, across the care sector, handling injuries account for over a quarter of all reported injuries to employers. In an attempt to cut the level of back injuries BackCare has launched a new edition of its text book “The Handling of People” this month. The book was first published in 1981.
BackCare’s acting chief executive Sean McDougall, said: “Cutbacks in NHS and local authority spending are apparently intended to reduce waste and increase efficiency, yet the biggest single cause of work-related sickness absence in the health and social care sectors is largely preventable through better training and systems of management.”
Julian Topping, head of Workplace Health and Regulation at NHS Employers, warned that compensation payments to staff for manual handling injuries continued to rise.
He said: “Every NHS employee who retires early because of back injury costs the NHS at least an extra £60,000, money which could be saved by effective training.”