A beleaguered hospital trust has once again topped the staff sickness absence rate table.
South Tyneside Foundation Trust has now finished at the apex of this unenviable league table for four years in succession.
South Tyneside had an average rate of 5.6 per cent of days lost to sickness absence during 2016/17, according to recently released data.
Interestingly, the trust currently shares a management board and chief executive with City Hospitals Sunderland Foundation Trust.
The trust had previously indicated that it is fully committed to promoting a culture of good staff attendance.
Indeed, several initiatives have been instigated in order to improve staff attendance, with one particular project aimed at accurately identifying the causes of ill-health and taking appropriate preventative actions.
Other public sector organisations have implemented such schemes successfully, but it seems that South Tyneside Foundation Trust is struggling to achieve similar results.
In fact, the trust had achieved only an incredibly minimal 0.1% improvement from the previous twelve-month period.
Kath Griffin, South Tyneside’s director of human resources and organisational development, noted the improvement, while also outlining steps taken to further improve the situation in the future.
“We did see a small improvement in our sickness absence figures in 2016/17 and we fully appreciate the need to ensure that this continues in the future. As part of this commitment, we have introduced a new attendance management policy, with associated training for managers, and we anticipate that this will have an even greater impact on our attendance rates in 2017-18.”
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust reflected the pattern of ongoing problems at certain healthcare organisations, with the trust located in the North West of England experiencing the second-highest sickness absence rate for the second year in succession.
Official data also indicated that ambulance and mental health trusts particularly struggled with sickness absences.
These specific types of trust both fared significantly less well than acute trusts.
Ambulance trusts and mental health trusts generally performed worse than acute trusts.
The best performing acute trusts in 2016/17 were Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children Foundation Trust, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Trust and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital FT.
All information was collated by NHS digital, which also noted that the North West Health Education England region had the highest average rate at 5.16%.
Nurses and midwives were also shown to have the lowest absence rates among any healthcare profession.