Response to Publication of Figures on Sickness Absence Rates

HEALTHCARE staff in Lothian have lower rates of absence due to illness than the Scottish average for staff in similar roles, new figures have revealed.

The sickness absence rate in NHS Lothian is 5.04%, compared to the Scottish average of 5.55%.

The figures were published today by ISD Scotland and cover the period from April 2006 to March 2007.

Jim McCaffery, Director, Human Resources, NHS Lothian, said:

"These figures confirm that NHS Lothian has one of the lowest rates of absence for health boards in Scotland.
"By working with staff as a good employer, we have been able to reduce the use of agency staff and have introduced a range of family friendly policies and flexible working options in partnership with our staff-side organisations, which have had positive benefits in terms of reducing staff absence through illness. We have seen particular progress over the last year, with the rate moving from 5.4% to 5.04%."

The figure is an average for the year. The figures for March 2007, the most recent month covered by the report, show an absence rate for that month of 4.66%.

This achievement is particularly commendable, given that healthcare workers are advised to report sick rather than continue to work if they are suffering ailments which could jeopardise patient safety.