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NHS Sickness Absence Rates May 2020, Provisional Statistics
Tables 1-4 (Monthly Sickness Absence Rates by NHS England region, Staff Group, Organisation Type and Organisation) from the quarterly Sickness Absence reports are published on a monthly basis on the same day as the Monthly workforce publication. This is to enable the data in these publications to be available on a more frequent and timely basis.
NHS Absence rates in May 2020
The overall sickness absence rate for England was 4.7%. This is down from 6.2% in April 2020 and slightly higher than May 2019 (4.0%)
Regional and organisational type variation
The North West region reported the highest sickness absence rate at 5.6%. London reported the highest sickness absence rate in April 2020 (7.2%). The South West remained unchanged as the region reporting the lowest sickness absence rate at 3.8% down from 4.5% in April 2020. Ambulance Trusts had the highest sickness absence rate at 5.3%, down from 7.3% in April 2020. Clinical Commissioning Groups had the lowest sickness absence rate at 1.8%.
Staff group differences
Support to doctors, nurses & midwives reported the highest sickness absence rate at 6.7%, down from 8.5% in April 2020. Support to ambulance staff had the highest rate in April 2020 at 8.6%. Hospital Practitioner / Clinical Assistant the lowest rate at 0.1%, also down from 0.9% in April 2020
Reason for sickness absence
Anxiety/stress/depression/other psychiatric illnesses is consistently the most reported reason for sickness absence, accounting for 510,281 full time equivalent days lost and 28.3% of all sickness absence in May 2020. This is up from 20.9% in April 2020
COVID-19 related sickness absence
340,900 full time equivalent days (from a total of 1,800,000 lost FTE days) were lost due to COVID-19 related sickness absence in May 2020, equating to 18.9% of all absences recorded. This is compared to 30.6% in April 2020 and 15.9% in March 2020. With the exception of Staff Grade, all staff groups reported an increase in COVID-19 related sickness absence between March 2020 and April 2020. During the March to May 2020 period, overall sickness absence rates peaked nationally at 6.2% in April. However, the equivalent rate for COVID-19 reported absences was 1.9%. London region reported the highest COVID-19 related sickness absences as a proportion of all FTE days lost through absence in both March (26.0%) and April (40.0%). In May, the highest COVID-19 related sickness absence was reported by the South East (25.8%).
Please see COVID-19 related absence file in the Resources section below for further information on COVID-19 reported absence