Private nurses to check up on sick NHS staff

Derby Hospitals NHS Trust is planning to tackle sickness absence by getting privately contracted nurses to telephone sick staff on their first day of absence to offer advice.

It is thought to be one of the first times that an NHS trust has used nurses to deal with sickness absence.

The trust, which has a £15m deficit and employs about 7,000 people, plans to cut the cost of agency staff covering sickness absence – estimated at an average 12 days per employee a year.

Tony Riley, HR director at Derby Hospitals NHS Trust, said it was talking to potential contractors about running the scheme.

“Most of [the nurses’] work will be to offer immediate, timely, medical and primary care advice, spending quality time with people to get them back to work quickly,” he said. “It would start from the first day of absence because the earlier the intervention, the more likely a quicker return.”

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