Latest NHS staff sickness absence figures released

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23 / 9 / 2014 10.05am

NHS staff sickness absence has risen by 0.06 per cent in the year to May 2014.

The latest figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show an increase in overall sickness absence, rising to 3.85 per cent in May 2014 from 3.79 percent in May 2013.

The data considers sickness absence rates and total days lost by staff group, Health Education England (HEE) region and organisation basing the data on a 365 day financial year as the NHS is constantly open to the public. The data tells us:

  • The lowest staff sickness rate of any group were medical and dental staff at 1.19 per cent, increasing from 1.16 per cent in May 2013.
  • At 3.10 per cent, North Central and East London has the lowest regional sickness absence whilst the North West has the highest at 4.49 per cent.

Speaking about the figures, Jennifer Gardner, Programme Lead for health and wellbeing said; “Employers continue to recognise the importance of supporting staff to remain healthy to enable them to give the best care to patients and are doing increasing amounts of work in this area.

Although the sickness absence rates have risen, they remain lower than they have been in years and the NHS has some fantastic examples of the work they are doing which continues to deliver measured improvements in staff health and wellbeing.

Sickness absence figures are a key measure for employers but should not be used in isolation as a measure of staff wellbeing, they should be considered with a range of other available data to give a more comprehensive picture of the overall wellbeing of staff. Information on using metrics and demographics and how to robustly evaluate health and wellbeing interventions is available on the NHS Employers website. 

NHS Employers also provides information, resources and guidance to help employers put quality health and wellbeing support programmes in place, continue to sustain the momentum with these programmes, robustly evaluate and develop them and share good practice across the health service.”

Our online tool ‘Everything you need to know about sickness absence’ is designed to help managers support staff with a confident and consistent approach. It includes a step-by-step guide for what to do when a staff member calls in sick, practical advice on some of the common reasons for sickness absence, as well as information on what to do if staff are frequently off sick.

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