• NHS England launches coronavirus absence app for NHS workforce
  • Anonymised data will be collected from app to support national coronavirus response 
  • App will be used to log members of staff who either have covid-19 or are caring for someone with the illness 

A new app has been launched by NHS England to track staff absences related to coronavirus amid increasing pressure on the NHS workforce. 

“Anonymised data” collected from the app will be used to inform the national response to coronavirus and enable health chiefs to fully understand pressures on the health system, according to NHS England.

The coronavirus absence tracker was launched on Thursday and allows staff and managers to log absences specifically related to coronavirus from a computer or mobile device.

It will be used to report staff members who cannot work because they are caring for someone with the virus, or either displaying symptoms or tested positive for the illness.

Information published by NHS England and Improvement states:“[The] data will be used by your employer to help them to monitor staff levels within the organisation and to help them take any necessary action if you do become affected by covid-19 and to plan for maintaining our key activities.

“This may include contacting staff members directly to give them additional advice and support.”

Overstreched hospitals have been experiencing increased staff shortages due to coronavirus. Absences related to the virus at Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust have risen by 20 per cent in the last three weeks, HSJ reported last week.

Most trusts are yet to publish workforce figures specifying the impact of covid-19 on their staff.

However, one acute trust’s leader told HSJ their organisation had around nine per cent of their overall staff absent due to covid-19, while several other NHS managers have estimated their trust’s figure is between 10-15 per cent.