Intended for healthcare professionals


Audit finds large variations in NHS staff sick days

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 10 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d953
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Savings of £290m could be made if all NHS organisations in England reduced their sickness absence rates to that of the lowest quartile, says the Audit Commission.

A report, Managing sickness absence in the NHS, found that sickness absence varies considerably around the country from 1.6% to 6.8%. It is highest for primary care trusts and trusts in the North East Strategic Health Authority and lowest in the London Strategic Health Authority area.

Ambulance staff, healthcare assistants, and other support staff had the highest rate of sickness absence closely followed by nursing, midwifery, and health visiting staff. The average rates of sickness absence for medical and dental staff was found to be low at 2.1% in hospital trusts and just over 1% in primary care trusts. Generally junior staff were more likely to take time off than their more senior colleagues.

The Audit Commission examined data collected from all local …

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