NHS workers took 15 days off sick last year… compared with just SIX in the private sector
Average private sector worker took 6.2 days off sick



16:22 GMT, 24 July 2012

The higher paid the NHS worker, the fewer sick days they are likely to take

The higher paid the NHS worker, the fewer sick days they are likely to take

NHS workers are taking three times as many days off sick compared to those employed in the private sector, new figures show.

The 1.04million NHS workers in England were absent from work for a combined 15.56million days between 2011 and 2012. This works out as an average 15 days each.

The sickness absence rate was highest among ambulance workers at 6.18 per cent for 2011 to 2012. Over the same period private sector employees had an average absence rate of just 2.8 per cent.

The higher paid the NHS worker, the
fewer sick days they are likely to take, figures from the Health and
Social Care Information Centre suggest.

Despite the high figures, they were keen to point out that sickness levels had fallen slightly in the public sector.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: 'This information is vital to
estimating lost days within the country’s largest workforce.

'Today’s report shows that generally, sickness absence has fallen
compared to three years ago, with the sickness absence rate falling from
4.40 per cent in 2009/10 to about 4.12 per cent in 2011/12.'

He added that 'other doctors in training' had the lowest rate of sickness absence of 1.19 per cent.

Meanwhile another survey has revealed that sickness absence in the private sector has seen a 'slow but sure' decline.

The study by information firm XpertHR found employees took an average of just over six days off sick last year,
equivalent to 2.8 per cent of working time, compared with 3.6 per cent in 2007.

The figures, based on a survey of 206 private firms, revealed the average private sector worker took 6.2 days off due to sickness.

The report’s author, Rachel Suff, said: 'Reducing sickness absence
levels, particularly in the public sector, has been a key public policy
imperative in the UK for some years.

'Figures show a slow but sure year-on-year decline in overall absence
levels across all employers over the past five years, including the
public sector. The difference is that the public sector’s drop has come
from a higher starting point.'

A TUC spokesman said: 'The average number of days lost to workplace
ill-health has been falling for over a decade as a result of employers
better managing sickness absence and increased presenteeism, which has
been made worse by rising job insecurity as a result of the recession.

'It is important that employers do not treat every instance of sickness absence as avoidable and potentially bogus.

'Good employers allow their staff to recover and support them when they
are off, rather than forcing them back while they are still ill. This
negative attitude can prolong illness, spread diseases and cause stress
throughout the workplace.'