Press release: Average NHS hospital worker
in England takes 13.8 days off sick per year
– and in some hospitals more than 19

​Research by Conservatives for Liberty, a free market campaign group, has found that the average NHS hospital worker in England took a shocking 13.8 days off sick in 2013-14. This compares to a national average of 4.4 days per year (ONS).

The worst offenders are (days per worker per year):

  • Stockport NHS Foundation Trust – 19.7
  • South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust – 19.1
  • Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust – 19.1
  • Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – 18.9
  • Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust – 18.4

Some of which are facing regulatory scrutiny for failings and concerns in other areas of their operations, including Sherwood Forest which is currently in ‘special measures’.

The hospitals with the lowest rates of sickness were still well above the national average, led by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust at 8.3 days per worker.

The other lowest scoring Trusts were: West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust (8.5 days), Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (8.8 days), and Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Royal National Hospital For Rheumatic Diseases NHS Foundation Trust all at 9 days per worker.

Further findings include:

  • 14.93% of sick days are taken because of
    stress or related terms
  • The
    most stressed workers are at: The
    Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (31% of days), Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (28% of days) and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust (27% of days)
  • Of the Trusts that were able to provide
    sick pay costs (worryingly, many were not),
    2.74% of staffing budgets – or
    £1,134 per worker – was spent on sick pay
  • The average time off
    per sickness absence was
    8.6 working da
  • Of the few Trusts that record such things, an average of
    10% of their workforce had taken
    more than 10% of their working time off sick in the past year​
​Emily Barley, Conservatives for Liberty, said:
“Whilst the numbers themselves are shocking, what is even more concerning is the large proportion of Trusts unable to provide fairly basic data on the cost of sick pay, replacement cover and who is taking large amounts of sick leave.
“This suggests that despite worryingly high – and extremely costly – rates of sickness absence, a large proportion of NHS Trusts in England are ill-equipped to manage sickness and reduce absence rates. Managers are simply not in a position to understand sickness within their workforce and in allowing this situation to continue show a flagrant disregard for taxpayers’ money.”

Download the full dataset here.




Media contact:

Emily Barley
Secretary, Conservatives for Liberty

Notes to editors:
Conservatives for Liberty is a volunteer run free market, socially liberal and libertarian campaign group. We work to bring together right-thinking politicians and ordinary people to demonstrate support for such policies, emboldening the Party to move further in this direction, and persuade right thinking individuals that the Conservative Party is the most promising home for their ideals.

For further information, including of our advisory board with Honourary President Daniel Hannan MEP, please see

Note on the data:

Data was gathered through Freedom of Information requests to 161 NHS Trust in England, with data provided for the 12 months ending February to May 2014. This is complemented by data from the Health & Social Care Information Centre ( for the 12 months ending January to February 2014.