Self-reported and employer-recorded sickness absence in doctors.

Occupational medicine (Oxford, England)

PubMedID: 24994849

Murphy IJ. Self-reported and employer-recorded sickness absence in doctors. Occup Med (Lond). 2014;.
BACKGROUND
Doctors' sickness absence reduces the quality and continuity of patient care and is financially costly. Doctors have lower rates of sickness absence than other healthcare workers.

AIMS
To compare self-reported with recorded sickness absence in doctors in a UK National Health Service hospital trust.

METHODS
A retrospective questionnaire study. The main outcome measures were self-reported and trust-recorded sickness absence episodes of 4 days or more in two consecutive 6-month periods.

RESULTS
The response rate was 82% (607/736). Self-reported sickness absence rates were 1.2% compared with a rate of 0.6% from trust-recorded data. There were 38 matched pairs of self-reported (mean duration: 18 days, standard deviation: 22 days) and trust-recorded (mean duration: 10 days, standard deviation: 17 days) sickness absence episodes of 4 days or more in the 12 months studied. A matched pairs t-test determined that the difference between the two means was significant (t = 2.57, P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS
Doctors' sickness absence was significantly under-recorded in this study population.