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One in 10 hospital nurses now off work with covid absences still rising

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More than one in 10 hospital nurses are now off work in areas hard-hit by covid, according to internal data leaked to HSJ.

The data shows the toal absence rate among acute trust nurses has risen steadily over the last month.

Nationally the total absence rate among acute trust nurses was 9.7% as of Monday, up from around 7% at the start of December, pushed up by rapidly rising absences due to covid. These make up more than half of total absences, and have now hit rates last seen in early May.

Senior NHS sources said staff absences are severely compounding operational pressures in the hardest hit regions, limiting hospitals’ capacity to operate more than is suggested in official bed capacity figures.

The highest rate was in the East of England where 11.4% of nurses off work, with coronavirus accounting for 7.5%. This is likely to mask even higher rates in particular hospitals, services and wards.

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Source: HSJ, 14 January 2021

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