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Covid absences rise 20pc in 10 days

Published on: 17 Mar 2022

The number of NHS hospital staff off work for covid-related reasons rose by a fifth in 10 days, according to the latest figures out this morning.

Absences in acute trusts increased on a rolling seven-day average basis from 14,488 on 2 March – their floor following the omicron peak – to 17,579 on 13 March, an increase of 21 per cent.

However, that figure is less than 40 per cent of the peak of covid-related absences in hospitals this winter, which was a weekly average of just under 46,000 on 10 January

The rise in covid absences from 2 March to 13 March pushed total absences up by 6 per cent to 58,284.

The figures published weekly by NHS England only include acute trusts.

Meanwhile, trust-level covid occupancy figures published this morning show a weekly increase at 102 out of 122 general acute trusts, on 15 March compared to a week earlier.

The number of trusts with 10 per cent or more covid occupancy has risen from 38 to 67 (more than half of the total 122) week on week; the number of trusts at 15 per cent-plus was up from 10 to 15; and the number at 20 per cent up from three to four (see full heat chart below or download PDF here).

It comes as covid cases in the community, new hospital cases, and covid occupancy have risen nationally in recent weeks.