NHS staff accidents costing health service £170m a year

NHS staff accidents are costing the health service around £170m a year in
compensation and time off work, according to a report by an influential
committee of MPs.

The report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee found there were
135,172 accidents last year involving NHS staff at work, up more than a third
since 2001.

The committee said there had been improvements in the way accidents were
reported, but there was still a "lack of consistency" in reporting

Some trusts were failing to report accidents where staff had taken three or
more days off work, despite being legally required to do so. Overall, just 42
per cent of accidents that were supposed to be reported actually were.

The study also highlighted a growing number of needlestick injuries, calling
for better education on how to tackle this issue.

Committee chairman and conservative MP Edward Leigh, said it was
"extremely disappointing" that the number of reported accidents had

He said there was a "clear need" for a national health and safety
strategy for the NHS, and for the Department of Health (DoH) to ensure the
number of accidents was reduced.

But Sir Nigel Crisp, NHS chief executive, pointed out that serious accidents
reportable under health and safety legislation have fallen by 25 per cent since

Crisp said the report also shows that at 4.6 per cent, the NHS has a lower
sickness absence rate than the rest of the public sector, which stands at 7.86
per cent.

The DoH has launched a ‘Back in Work’ initiative to educate NHS staff and
managers about back injuries and how to avoid them, and is also running an
awards programme for trusts.

Manual handling accidents accounted for 40 per cent of all sickness absence
in the NHS.

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