WORKFORCE Buckinghamshire Healthcare has knocked £1m off its staff pay bill in a month, but is reporting a higher than planned rate of sickness among staff.

The provider spent £17.3m on pay in April, compared with £18.7m the month before. Within that total, spending on temporary staff dropped by more than a third, from £1.6m to £1m.

The trust now has 5,072.5 whole time equivalent staff in post – 14.3 less than planned.

However the turnover rate, at 11.95 per cent, is significantly below the 15 per cent the trust had forecast, and sickness rates stood at 3.77 per cent, compared with a plan of 3 per cent.

Sickness rates are below average among support service staff, but are significantly higher among some clinical staff groups. Community care services have a sickness rate of 4.22 per cent, while the rate for spinal injury staff is 4.74 per cent.