WORKFORCE: Sussex Community Trust may have missed its targets for staff sickness absence because not enough staff had the flu vaccine or the vaccine itself was not effective.

This is the view of trust finance and estates director Jonathan Reid, who said these were possible explanations for the Trust’s sickness absence rate being 6.17 per cent against a target of 4 per cent during January.

He said in a report in trust board papers: “Coughs, colds and influenza are the number one reasons for sickness absence in month 10, at 20 per cent of all sickness absence.

“Reasons for this could be a combination of a lower rate of uptake amongst staff of the seasonal flu vaccination, and a lower rate of effectiveness of the vaccination itself against the dominant flu strains this winter. However, it is difficult to separate out the specific incidences of colds and influenza.”