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New figures released on NHS sickness absence rates

22 July 2015: New figures on NHS sickness absence rates are released today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

*Regional information is available within this report

Today's report includes new annual statistics for 2014-15 and figures for the last five financial years, broken down by:

  • Organisation type
  • Staff group
  • Agenda for Change pay band
  • Health Education England region

Quarterly figures for January to March 2015 are also released today for these categories. The quarterly figures also show monthly sickness absence rates by organisation.

Sickness absence rates are calculated using full time equivalent (FTE) and are based on calendar days, therefore include non-working days.

Today's analysis can be viewed at:


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 260 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. Prior to starting this quarterly publication series the HSCIC (and DH previously) published sickness absence statistics on a yearly basis with the last publication in 2006 using 2005 data. Rates in these surveys and the latest rates are not directly comparable due to the differences in these surveys' methodologies.

3. The report relates to sickness absence rates for staff at NHS organisations in England on the Electronic Staff Record (ESR); a payroll and human resources system. It contains records for all NHS employed staff with the exception of GPs and those employed at the two foundation trusts that are not on the system (Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust). A monthly extract is downloaded from the ESR Data Warehouse detailing the number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) calendar days available and the number of FTE calendar days of sickness absence for each member of staff in that month. Sickness absence rates are then calculated for the English NHS and for each Health Education England area, staff group, organisation type and individual organisation by dividing the total number of sickness absence days by the total number of available days for each group.

4. NHS infrastructure support includes staff in: central functions - (e.g. personnel, finance, IT, legal services and library services); hotel, property & estates (e.g. laundry, catering, caretakers and domestic services, gardeners, builders, electricians); administrative managers & senior managers.

5. Care should be taken in the interpretation of wider comparisons using these figures. When comparing across sectors comparisons may only be relevant with business areas that involve infectious conditions, traumatic situations and assaults on employees.

6. For media enquires or interview requests please contact or telephone 0300 30 33 888. Please note the change to our media line number.

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