NHS: Sick Leave

Department of Health written question – answered on 16th March 2017.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Shadow Secretary of State for Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the NHS Staff Survey results for 2016, what assessment his Department has made of the risks to patients of NHS staff reporting for work despite not feeling well enough to perform their duties.

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Minister of State, Department of Health

The NHS Staff Survey shows a modest improvement, from 59% (2015) to 56% (2016) in the proportion of staff who responded reporting that they attended work in the last three months despite feeling unwell because they felt pressure from their manager, colleagues or themselves.

This improvement emphasises the importance of continued support across the National Health Service for the initiative led by NHS England to improve NHS staff health and wellbeing, details for which can be found at:


Recognising that staff ill-health and related absence is linked to an increased risk of unsafe care, worse experiences of care for patients and poorer outcomes the Department continues to commission NHS Employers to help NHS trusts improve staff health and wellbeing through a structured programme of advice, guidance and best practice.

Their programme includes, for example, supporting trusts to reduce staff sickness absence rates; encouraging effective use of occupational health services; promoting good practice on staff engagement; handling presenteeism and improving emotional wellbeing within organisations. Details of the tools and resources to help NHS organisations are available at:


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