NHS Providers Deputy Chief Executive Saffron Cordery has described newly-published data, showing high numbers of staff absences due to sickness or self-isolation, as ‘worrying’ and ‘a great cause for concern’.
The latest data, published by NHS England and NHS Improvement, showed 99,934 staff absences recorded, with the Midlands and areas in the North of England particularly affected.
Ms Cordery said: “The number of staff absences due to sickness or self-isolation is worrying. It makes the task of dealing with Covid-19, winter pressures and a huge vaccination programme even more challenging.
“The data shows that across England, almost 100,000 NHS staff were absent from work with almost 50% linked to Covid-19 related sickness or self-isolation on January 6, 2021.
“This is a great cause for concern because despite extraordinary efforts by frontline staff, it can translate into longer waits for care and places significant additional strain on colleagues who are still able to work.
“Trusts are working with local partners to identify safe and effective ways of filling the immediate gaps, and to support the wellbeing of staff who are continuing to work.
“In time, Covid-19 vaccinations will reduce staff absences and the risks from exposure of frontline staff to the virus.
“Once we get through this severe period of pressure, it’s vital that we see a focus on ensuring the health service has a fully funded, agreed, workforce plan that gives the NHS the increases in long term workforce numbers it desperately needs.”