Hospital doctors least likely to take sick leave of all NHS staff


NHS workers in England took an estimated 9.5 working days off sick last year according to a Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) report, which also points to a slight rise in sickness absence rates.

The study which covered 1.05 million full time equivalent workers found that hospital doctors were the least likely to take sick leave of all staff. They took on average 2.8 days per year – though this was a slight rise from 2.7 days in 2011-12 and 2009-10.


Ambulance staff took the most days off sick with 14.7 days on average recorded per employee – an increase from 13.9 last year. Qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff were the next most frequent sickness group with an average of 10.6 days per year. Sue Covill, director of employment services at the NHS Employers said:

“It is important to put these figures in perspective. Major staff groups, including nurses, are taking less sick-leave now than at the beginning of the decade, and systems to support their health and wellbeing have undeniably improved.”

“The simple fact is the NHS environment has become more challenging for everyone, making supportive approaches essential to mitigate the pressures and help staff work within them.”

Regionally the North East had the highest sickness absence rate, with 4.74 per cent of staff ill on an average day. The lowest rate was in London at 3.52 per cent.

Levels of pay also appeared to have an impact on sickness. Six per cent of staff within the second lowest pay band were ill on an average day – the highest rate of any pay band. The lowest rate was in the highest pay band with 1.22 per cent ill on an average day.