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The Cost of Staff Absence 

Written by MIAB’s Surgery Insurance Team

In the current industry climate where according to Pulse one in six posts are failing to be filled, staff shortage can have a severe knock on effect to the smooth running of a practice. We are all acutely aware of the staff supply and demand mismatch and the resultant spiralling cost of recruitment.

However it is not just staff shortages that cause issues, here MIAB explores the costs to a practice associated with a key member of staff absence, and what you, as a practice manager, can do to protect your business from it.

Absence in the workplace is a common issue employers face. Whether it’s an illness, injury, or even jury service, sometimes your staff will have to take time away. The associated costs with administration, finding cover, and managing the change in workflow can all add up to a significant impact on your bottom line, leaving you in a difficult position.

According to Aviva’s ‘Absence Calculator’, staff working within the health industry take on average 9.3 days away from work a year, not including holiday, costing businesses £914 per employee, per annum (according to the CIPD)*. This could have a major impact on the way your business is run, and can limit the ability to work at full capacity. Hiring a locum, temporary staff, or having staff that are able to work additional hours is a solution, though a costly one.

Thankfully the NHS Sickness Reimbursement scheme for general practices can offer some cover for an absence of a key clinical member of staff, though there are limitations such as ‘not being able to claim full sickness reimbursement if a GP is off more than once a year’, the payment being limited to £1,751 in the first 26 weeks (when a locum can cost up to £2,500 per week), and non-key members of staff not being covered. Having full reliance on this scheme alone may not provide an acceptable solution.

Locum Insurance can provide you with the necessary means of protection, and offers a broader scope of cover for situations such as compassionate leave, jury service, maternity/paternity/adoption, and revalidation.

By providing funding for locums, temporary staff, staff overtime, or business overheads, your income – and overheads – can be protected during staff absence, allowing you to use your funds for other areas, where needed.

Whether you are a single-handed practitioner or work in a large, multi-partner practice, MIAB has a policy to suit.

We offer a flexible deferment period – also known as an excess period – meaning you can choose when you would like the policy to kick in (from a minimum of two weeks). The longer the period, the lower the premium.

If you would like to know more about how you can cover absence within your business, contact our Specialist Locum Insurance team on 01348 871710 or email locum@miab.co.uk.

*Chartered Institute of Personal Development report, 2014