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Slight fall in sickness rate among NHS staff


Sickness among NHS workers has fallen by just 0.04% in 12 months, despite efforts by NHS trusts to reduce the number of days lost.

For the first time the NHS Information Centre has published annual data for the level of sickness absence among health service staff, showing a rate of 4.12% in 2011-12, or 15.56 million days.

This was 390,000 fewer days than in 2010-11 when the sickness rate was 4.16%. In 2009-10 the absence rate was 4.4%.

The figures cover 1.04 million full time equivalent staff, excluding GPs and practice staff.

Gill Bellord, director of employment relations at NHS Employers, said: “The challenge now is to keep sickness levels coming down by continuing to provide the range of support necessary to improve staff’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.”

Latest workforce statistics by the Information Centre also reveal the number of full-time equivalent staff in the NHS fell by 0.9%, or 9,407 staff, between April 2011 and April 2012.

During January to March this year there were 868 compulsory redundancies; 173 were professionally qualified clinical staff and 695 were support staff.

The Royal College of Nursing said the workforce statistics showed the number of qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff had fallen by 4,661 between April 2010 and April 2012.

RCN executive director of nursing and service delivery Janet Davies said: “The pressure to save £20bn in the NHS in England is resulting in cuts to jobs, hitting the frontline hard. You can’t lose more than 4,500 nurses, midwives and health visitors without seriously damaging patient care.

“Despite Government rhetoric, these cuts are real and have been ongoing for some time,”



Readers' comments (5)

  • It is interesting that despite the continuing bad news about the economy, sickness rates have only fallen by a tiny amount. This is combined with much more punitive sickness/absence policies. Perhaps more action about health and well-being rather than just talk about it might help. Rather than even more punitive measures, maybe management should try treating their staff with a bit of respect.

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  • relationship between economy and sickness rates?

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  • Several have lost their jobs due to sickness absence in my trust. 4 periods in 12 months and unless you had an understanding manager you were gone.

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  • No manager is allowed to get rid of staff due to genuine sickness absence without it going through a capability process. that process will allow the individual representation by their trade union if they choose. local policies are certainly much stricterthan they used to be regarding single days of absence.

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  • so if you have a cold or flu or anything else contageous managers and colleagues prefer it if you come into work and infect the whole team and patients as well?

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