Health staff sickness rates down – but Redbridge trusts still lose 152,000 days in one year

Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Queen’s and King George hospitals

Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Queens and King George hospitals - Credit: Archant

Staff sick days at the borough’s two health trusts have gone down over the past year – but both remain in the top five highest in the region.

The latest figures from the health and social care information centre (HSCIC) show that BHRUT (Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust), which runs King George Hospital, had a 3.8 per cent staff absence rate from April 2015 to March this year, down from 4.12pc the previous year.

Nelft (North East London NHS Foundation Trust), which runs Goodmayes Hospital and provides mental health support and community services, had a rate of 4.24pc, down from 4.66pc.

The average percentage of sickness absences in the north central and east London region, which includes 30 health organisations, was 3.38pc.

BHRUT chief executive Matthew Hopkins said he was pleased with the figures, which were an improvement on an absence rate of 4.12pc the previous year.

“Healthy staff help us provide the best possible care to our patients, so I’m really pleased we’ve reduced our sickness absence rate, and that we’re well below the national average of 4.37pc [for January to March],” he said.

“We’ve worked extremely hard over the last year to reduce sickness, including focusing on the overall wellbeing of our staff.

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“Our Occupational Health and Wellbeing team offer a range of initiatives to help and encourage staff to lead healthier lifestyles, including a cycle to work scheme, staff choir and several exercise classes.”

And a Nelft spokesman said: “We support our staff to improve their wellbeing to encourage a healthy workforce.

“We currently have over 1,700 staff members taking part in the Global Corporate Challenge, which encourages employees to become more physically active.

“The trust also recently hosted our annual sports day for staff and patients focused on exercise, sport and wellbeing.”

Between April 2015 and March 2016, staff sickness absences at BHRUT – which also runs Queen’s Hospital in Romford – resulted in 79,391 lost working days.

Nelft lost 73,779 working days during the same period.

BHRUT employs 6,500 staff and volunteers, while Nelft employs around 4,800 people.

Both trusts provide services for around 750,000 people across Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham.