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NHS staff sickness hits record high in England

Staff sickness in the NHS in England has reached record levels.

Figures for 2022 show an absence rate - the proportion of days lost - of 5.6%, meaning the NHS lost the equivalent of nearly 75,000 staff to illness.

This is higher than during the peak pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 - and a 29% rise on the 2019 rate.

Mental health problems were the most common cause, responsible for nearly a quarter of absences, the Nuffield Trust analysis of official NHS data shows.

Big rises were also seen in cold, coughs, infections and respiratory problems, likely to be linked to the continued circulation of Covid as well as the return of flu last year.

The think tank warned the NHS was stuck in a "seemingly unsustainable cycle" of increased work and burnout, which was contributing to staff leaving.

The analysis, exclusively for BBC News, comes ahead of the publication of the government and NHS England's long-awaited workforce plan.

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Source: BBC News, 29 June 2023


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