NHS absenteeism is a “festering sore,” study says

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 15 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5234
  1. Oona Mashta
  1. 1London

Managers in the United Kingdom’s health services are failing to tackle staff absenteeism, which costs millions of pounds in lost productivity every year, a new study concludes.

Healthcare has the highest levels of absenteeism levels of any sector, and a reduction of just 1% could save the NHS in England more than £34.2m (€39.2m; $55.7m) a year, say the authors, Vivienne Walker and David Bamford, from Manchester Business School (Health Services Management Research 2011;24:142-50, doi:10.1258/hsmr.2011.011004).

Sickness absence costs the UK economy £12bn each year, and the rate of absenteeism is much higher among public than private sector workers, they say.

To reach their findings the researchers reviewed 140 previously published studies on absenteeism and carried out an in-depth investigation into …

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