Steps to cut staff absence could save NHS millions

THE CSP union has said that simple steps could reduce staff absence in the health service, saving millions.


Statistics show a sickness absence rate of 4.02% for NHS staff between April and June this year, which equates to about nine working days a year for a full-time employee.


The Boorman Review, published in 2009, said the NHS could save £555m a year by giving staff rapid access to physiotherapy and other occupational health services.


CSP Chief Exec Phil Gray argued that the health service and successive governments had not done enough to implement the recommendations of that report and patient services were now suffering as a result.


“The NHS takes a double hit when an employee is unfit to work – there is the cost of covering that absence, and a gap in provision that can lead to cancellations and longer waiting times,” he said.


“In the current climate, we frequently hear that services are being cut because of budget constraints yet NHS trusts seeming to be deliberately failing to implement Boorman and this blatantly obvious way to save money.


“Instead of cutting services to reduce costs, they must invest in rapid access physiotherapy schemes that keep staff in work to help deliver the savings that are needed.”


A briefing published this month by the CSP included a case study from Colchester Hospital University NHS foundation Trust, which reported savings of £586,000 in just six months after introducing a rehabilitation service for staff.



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