WORKFORCE: Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust has attributed a high sickness rate among clinical and diagnostics services (CADS) staff to a high level of vacancies.

The trust’s divisional report for CADS said staff sickness stood at 2.6 per cent against a target of 2 per cent.

The report, from the trust’s 27 April board meeting, said: “This could be a reflection of current level of vacancies and resultant pressures on remaining workforce. Managers are being asked to monitor closely and ensure recruitment to pressured areas.”

A 5 per cent vacancy rate was among the measures identified to bring in £400,000 worth of cost savings in 2010-11.

However, at the end of March, the trust had a vacancy rate of more than 10 per cent, with 249.51 whole time equivalent staff in post, against a funded staffing level of 281.05 WTE.

The staff in post figure includes bank and agency staff, and excess hours of 12.6 WTE.

The high level of vacancies was attributed to adverts currently on hold pending the completion of a corporate services review, and ongoing CADS redesign review and “difficulty recruiting staff”.