More than 1.3 million NHS working days lost to Covid in England, figures show

More than 1.3 million days of work were lost in the NHS in England due to coronavirus-related sickness over three months, new figures show.

Data from NHS Digital, published on Thursday, shows that 1,349,599 full-time equivalent (FTE) days of work were lost to Covid-19 absence between March and May.

This was the equivalent of around 22% of the nearly 6.1 million FTE sickness days lost during the period for NHS England.

The data showed that during the peak of the outbreak in April there were 690,569 FTE days lost due to Covid-19 – 30.6% of the nearly 2.3 million absences recorded that month.

In March there were 318,140 coronavirus-related FTE days lost to absence, 15.9% of total absences, and in May there were 340,890 FTE days lost to Covid, accounting for 18.9% of all absences that month.

The London region reported the highest Covid 19-related sickness absences as a proportion of all FTE days lost through absence in both March at 26% and April at 40%, but in May the highest related sickness absence was in the South East at 25.8%.

The overall sickness absence rate for NHS staff in England in May was 4.7%.

This is down from 6.2% in April, which was the highest level ever seen in the data, which goes back to April 2009.

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