Sickness absence rate among NHS workers falls
Sickness absence rate among NHS workers falls to 4.12 per cent
Rate for England falls for a second year
NHS staff had a sickness absence rate of 4.12 per cent in 2011/12 - slightly lower than in the previous two years.
This equates to about 15.56 million days lost to sickness (which will include non-working days if they fall within a reported absence period) according to new analysis published today for the first time by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
The 2011/12 rate compares to 4.16 per cent recorded in 2010/11 (about 15.95 million days) and 4.40 per cent recorded in 2009/10 (about 16.75 million days).
Today's report presents sickness absence information recorded by the English NHS for the last three financial years and covers about 1.04 million full time equivalent workers (excluding GPs and practice staff).
Total days lost to sickness will include non-working days if they fall within a reported absence period. Considering sickness absence rates in 2011/12, the report shows:
Qualified ambulance workers recorded the highest rate of any main staff group at 6.18 per cent (405,000 days) and also the highest rate in the previous two years (6.18 per cent or 401,000 days in 2010/11 and 6.38 per cent or 404,000 days in 2009/10).
Doctors (excluding GPs) recorded the lowest rate of any main staff group at 1.19 per cent (427,000 days) and also the lowest rate in the previous two years (1.16 per cent or 410,000 days in 2010/11 and 1.21 per cent or 415,000 days in 2009/10).
Rates generally decrease with increasing pay grade when considering the Agenda for Change scale (the main payment and grading system for NHS staff excluding doctors, dentists and some managers). Band two, the second lowest grade of nine, recorded the highest rate at 5.91 per cent (3.03 million days) and also the highest rate in 2010/11 (5.97 per cent or 3.13 million days). This band had the second highest rate in 2009/10 (6.33 per cent or 3.35 million days), after band one.
Regionally, of England's 10 Strategic Health Authority (SHA) areas; the North East SHA area had the highest rate at 4.55 per cent (1.03 million days) in 2011/12. It had the joint highest rate in 2010/11 at 4.60 per cent (1.05 million days) along with North West SHA (although the North West, which has a larger workforce, had a greater number of days lost at 2.73 million). The North East also had the highest rate in 2009/10 at 4.98 per cent (1.12 million days).
London SHA had the lowest rate at 3.51 per cent (2.10 million days) and also the lowest rate in the previous two years (3.47 per cent or 2.10 million in 2010/11 and 3.64 per cent or 2.15 million days in 2009/10).
HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: "Although we have been publishing quarterly figures about sickness absence in the NHS workforce for the last three years, this is the first time we have presented an annual time series.
"This information is vital to estimating lost days within the country's largest workforce. Today's report shows that generally, sickness absence has fallen compared to three years ago, with the sickness absence rate falling from 4.40 per cent in 2009/10 to around 4.12 per cent in 2011/12.
"Qualified ambulance workers have the highest rate of sickness absence of any NHS staff group; while the 'other doctors in training' group has the lowest. The data also points to the North East as having the highest sickness absence rate among its NHS workers, while London has the lowest."
The report is at: http://www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/absenceratesmar12
July 24, 2012, 10:21 am