Sickness absence again

Category: 2getherOn January 23rd the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) published its latest monthly data on NHS Sickness Absence Rates, covering the period up to September 2014. This provided an opportunity for me to update my previous analysis of sickness absence in the 2gether Trust.

To cut a long story short, nothing much has changed. Back in July 2013, in the post NHS sickness absence, I concluded that 2gether:

“…seems to have had generally worsening rates of sickness absence over the last four years against a background of slightly improving rates in mental health trusts as a whole.”

The latest data leads me to the same conclusion. For details of the analysis, see that earlier post.

The new analysis

To make a fair comparison with my previous analysis, I again looked at four years’ worth of data, this time from October 2010 to September 2014. (The data comes from the HSCIC’s NHS Sickness Absence Rates July 2014 to September 2014, although the data there goes all the way back to April 2009.)

On the chart below, the greyed out area at the left represents the old data stretching back to April 2009. The upper (red) line, with its dotted linear trend, represents 2gether’s sickness absence rates over four years. The lower (blue) lines represent the unweighted average of all mental health trusts:


Over the four years, 2gether’s best performance relative to the average was in September 2011, when its rate was 4.2% compared to the average 4.75%. But in the period for which we have data 2gether hasn’t performed better than the average since February 2012 (although it’s come close on a couple of occasions). Its worst performance relative to the average was in April 2013, when its rate was 5.95% compared to the average 4.36%.

In absolute terms, however, 2gether’s worst recorded rate was way back in December 2010, when it reached 6.4% before dropping sharply, dipping just below the average in February 2011.

The chart makes it look as if 2gether’s rate is more variable than that of other trusts, but this is at least partly the effect of averaging.

The best trust overall is the same as last time, Tavistock and Portman NHS FT in north London, with an average rate of 1.05% (about one day lost in every 95) over the last twelve months of the data. The worst trust overall is also the same as last time, Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS FT, with an average rate of 6.47% (nearly one day lost in every 15) over the same period. In the same twelve months 2gether’s average rate was 5.13% (nearly one day lost in every 19).

Acute trusts

This time I also extracted the data for acute trusts. Their sickness absence rates are consistently below those of mental health trusts. On this chart the blue lines represent the average of all mental health trusts, exactly as before, and the lower (orange) line represents the average of all acute trusts:


Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS FT’s average rate over the last twelve months of data was 3.7% (about one day lost in every 27), pretty close to the average for acute trusts.


About Rod

Chairman of the Gloucestershire charity Suicide Crisis, Vice Chair of Relate Gloucestershire & Swindon, and an enthusiast for public involvement in the NHS.
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