Released 3 November 2022
- Could you state the number of staff members who were recorded to have had Long Covid while working for your trust at any time in the period between October 2021 – October 2022?
- Could you state all leave of absences taken where Long Covid was cited as the cause between October 2021 – October 2022 and the length of time each absence lasted for.
- Does your trust offer any specialised support for staff members living with Long Covid? If so could you please provide details of these services?
1 and 2. We can only report on this activity from May 2022 when the reason for absence due to ‘long covid’ was coded on our administration system. The reporting criteria for ‘long covid’ is in line with guidance issued by NHS England which defines covid-related absence episodes that last 28 days or more as ‘long covid’. Where ‘long covid’ has been recorded for a member of staff and there are subsequent absence episodes of less than 28 days, this absence will also be recorded as ‘long covid’.
We have provided the “Guidelines for supporting our NHS people affected by Long COVID” from NHS England for your information.
Between May – October 2022, there were 125 instances of ‘long covid’ reported, affecting a total of 112 members of staff.
We are unable to provide precise details relevant to the length of time each absence lasted for, on the basis that this information could be associated with specific members of staff that could be identified through this disclosure. This information is considered personal information and exempt from disclosure under section 40 [personal information] exemption of the Act.
The application of section 40(2) exemption in this case is considered absolute and is not subject to further public interest considerations.
3. Staff are referred to our Occupational Health team to determine how they can be best supported until they are fit to return to work where this is appropriate. There are also a number of national networks that staff are signposted to for additional support. These include NHS England, the British Medical Association, NHS Employers and the Royal College of Nursing where applicable. We have provided links to some of these resources below for your information.