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27.07.16

Healthcare assistants overtake ambulance staff for highest rate of sickness absences

Healthcare assistants and support staff now have the highest rate of absence due to sickness in the NHS.

The sickness absence figures for 2015-16, published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, show that the sickness rate for healthcare assistants in January-March 2016 was 6.5%.

Ambulance staff, who had the highest rate last year at 6.78%, have now fallen to second place, with 5.89%, followed by nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff with 5.06%.

The overall sickness rate for January-March 2016 was 4.37%, a slight decrease from 4.44% in the same period last year

However, ambulance trusts had the highest aggregated sickness absence rate at 5.79%, followed by mental health and learning disability trusts at 4.93%.

The highest sickness absence rates were in the north west (5%), north east (4.91%) and Yorkshire and Humber (4.78%).

In contrast, north west London had the lowest rate (3.4%), followed by north central and east London (3.47%).

The impact of working in the NHS on staff health was raised as an area of concern in the 2016 NHS staff survey, which found that 37% of respondents had experienced illness due to work-related stress.

NHS England announced recently that it is creating a new nursing associate role in a bid to reduce the pressure on nurses and support staff.

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