Sheffield Teaching Hospitals says staff Covid absences not 'the highest in England' after supplying wrong data

Hospital bosses in Sheffield have denied reports they have the highest staff Covid absences nationally, inisting the wrong data was given to NHS England.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 5:13 pm

A high-profile national story today (January 7) claimed NHS hospital staff absences due to Covid have more than doubled in a week across Yorkshire.

The Press Association reported a total of 8,788 NHS staff at hospital trusts in the region were ill with coronavirus or having to self-isolate on January 2, up 110 per cent on the 4,179 reported on Boxing Day.

It further claimed that Sheffield Teaching Hospitals was tied for having the worst proportion of staff off due to Covid in the country, at a rate of 10 per cent.

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This would amount to approximately 1,700 of the trust’s 17,000 staff.

The trust has now claimed this figure is incorrect, and that the hospitals provided the wrong data to NHS England.

However, despite the denial, the trust was unable to provide any other figure.

The trust has stated it is currently experiencing “double the rate of staff sickness than usual” but is “managing the situation”.

A spokeswoman said: “We expect our validated figures to be closer to the average being reported by most trusts [four per cent] rather than the highest in England.

"The figures which have been reported today relating to staff absence due to Covid are not accurate due to an error in the information we have submitted. We are currently re-validating the data.”

Meanwhile, the latest data shows Sheffield’s Covid infection rate leapt by 65 per cent in the days immediately after Christmas.

Overall, there were 39,142 NHS staff at hospital trusts in England who were absent for Covid-related reasons on January 2, up 59% from 24,632 the previous week and more than three times the 12,508 at the start of December.

The figures suggest one in 25 (four per cent) of NHS staff working in acute hospital trusts are off sick or self-isolating due to Covid, based on NHS Digital monthly workforce data for September for acute trusts – the most recent available.

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said rising Covid-19 cases are “piling even more pressure” on hospital trust workers.

He said: “Omicron means more patients to treat and fewer staff to treat them. In fact, around 10,000 more colleagues across the NHS were absent each day last week compared with the previous seven days and almost half of all absences are now down to Covid.

“While we don’t know the full scale of the potential impact this new strain will have, it’s clear it spreads more easily and, as a result, Covid cases in hospitals are the highest they’ve been since February last year – piling even more pressure on hard working staff.

“Those staff are stepping up as they always do; answering a quarter more 111 calls last week than the week before, dealing with an increasing number of ambulance call-outs, and working closely with colleagues in social care to get people out of hospital safely.”

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