WORKFORCE: South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust had the worst sickness average sickness absence rate of any NHS organisation for the first three months of 2013 in the South East Coast region.

The trust had a 5.47 per cent average sickness absence rate from January to March, according to analysis by HSJ of Health and Social Care Information Centre data published on 23 July.

Broken down this was 5.58 per cent in January, 5.11 per cent in February and 5.73 per cent in March.

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.

The only worse rate was recorded by social enterprise VH Doctors, which staffs NHS community contracts for Virgin Care, with 5.87 per cent.