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Better rehab needed to cut NHS staff sick rates, says CSP

23 July 2013 - 5:23pm

NHS trusts and other employers need to provide speedy access to physiotherapy and other rehabilitation services if sickness rates among health service workers are to be cut, the CSP has said.

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CSP deputy chief executive Sue Browning: 'Employers need provide fast access to rehabilitation and occupational health services like physiotherapy to help keep staff in work'

Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, which were published this week  show the overall rate of sickness absence for NHS staff in England in the first quarter of this year was 4.38 per cent, compared with 4.24 per cent for the whole of 2012 to 2013.

The sickness absence rate for scientific, therapeutic and technical staff, which includes physiotherapists and other allied health professionals, was 3.54 per cent, for the first quarter of this calendar year.

The sickness rate for allied health professionals specifically, for the whole of 2012 to 2013 was 2.85 per cent.

CSP deputy chief executive Sue Browning said NHS sickness absence damaged patient care and diverted funds from frontline services.

‘The simple truth is that the NHS is not doing enough to support its staff and help to combat sickness absence,’ she said.

‘More than a third of trusts still do not have a health and wellbeing strategy in place, despite being told by a major review in 2009 that this would help save the NHS £555m a year.

'That represents looking a gift horse in the mouth at precisely the time when the NHS cannot afford it.

‘Employers need to act now and provide fast access to rehabilitation and other occupational health services like physiotherapy to help keep staff in work and delivering services to patients’.

The sickness figures showed that ambulance staff had the highest absence rate for the first quarter of this year, at 6.96 per cent, and nursing, midwifery and health visiting learners had the lowest staff sickness rate at 1.04 per cent.

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