WORKFORCE: VH Doctors Ltd had the worst average sickness absence rate for the first three months of 2013 among community providers – and any provider of NHS services – in the South East Coast region.

The social enterprise is the vehicle through which Virgin Care staffs its community contracts in Surrey.

It had a 5.87 per cent average sickness absence rate from January to March, according to analysis by HSJ of Health and Social Care Information Centre data.

Broken down this was 5.90 per cent in January, 6.15 per cent in February and 5.57 per cent in March.

The mean average across the region’s community providers – for which data was available –during the period was 4.81 per cent.

Kent Community Trust had an average rate of 4.51 per cent, Medway Community Healthcare one of 3.82 per cent and Sussex Community Trust one of 5.06 per cent.

The mean average across the region’s three mental health providers during the period was 4.58 per cent and 3.69 per cent across its 12 acute organisations.