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Nurses' sickness absence rates almost four times higher than doctors

New sickness absence rates show nurses have one of the highest sickness absence rates across the NHS.

Sickness rates
Sickness rates Picture: iStock

Nurses’ sickness rates are among the highest of all NHS staff, according to new data released today.

The latest figures reveal that nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff have an absence rate of 4.6%, compared with medical and dental staff which show a markedly lower absence rate of 1.2%.

Healthcare assistants and support staff have the highest recorded absence rates at 6%, while the lowest rates were found in nursing, midwifery and health visiting students at 0.87%.

The full listing of sickness absence rates by staff groups is as follows:

  • 6% - healthcare assistants and other support staff
  • 5.2% - ambulance staff
  • 4.6% - nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff
  • 3.5% - administration and estates
  • 3.3% - healthcare scientists
  • 3.2% - scientific, therapeutic and technical staff
  • 1.2% - medical and dental staff
  • 0.87% - nursing, midwifery and health visiting learners

Across types of organisation, the highest sickness absence rates for any service that employs nurses were seen in mental health and learning disability services (4.5%) and community provider trusts (4.3%).

The data has been published today by NHS Digital as part of its monthly reporting scheme on sickness absence and relates to April 2016.

In March 2016, sickness absence for nursing, midwifery and health staff was 4.86%, 6.32% for healthcare assistants and support staff, and 1.21% for nursing, midwifery and health visiting students


Further information

More than half of nurses feel pressured to work when sick

Nurses to have health checks as part of £5 million NHS England initiative

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