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NHS staff illness 1.5 times higher than private sector

19th August 2009

New figures have shown that on average NHS workers are taking 10.7 sick days every year.


The findings in the interim NHS Health and Wellbeing report show that NHS absences are higher than the public sector average and 50% above the private sector which is 6.4 days.

The document suggests that the health service should do more to tackle staff illness and it shows that if NHS managers followed private sector models, up to 15,000 staff absences a day could be avoided.

The government-commissioned study said the NHS should act as an exemplar for the rest of the economy.

The most common problems included stress, mental health difficulties and musculoskeletal problems.

Dr Steve Boorman, who led the review, said there was evidence that trusts which improve the health of their staff perform better.

He said: “Trusts that take health and wellbeing seriously perform consistently better on measures of quality, patient safety and efficiency.”

Dr Boorman will draw up his final report later this year after consulting NHS staff and government officials.

Health workers union Unison said the nature of NHS work saw staff placed at higher risk of injury and infection.

Head of health, Karen Jennings, said the NHS had a patchy occupational health system and that managers should take a more responsible approach to the health and wellbeing of their staff.

Sian Thomas, director at NHS Employers, said: “As health is our core business we must put the health issues of our own staff at centre stage so that we all become role models for our communities.”


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Article Information

Title: NHS staff illness 1.5 times higher than private sector
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 12450
Date Added: 19th Aug 2009


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