Understanding Sickness Absence in the Ambulance Service

Simmons, Laura, Law, Graham, Asghar, Zahid , Gaunt, Ruth and Siriwardena, Niro (2019) Understanding Sickness Absence in the Ambulance Service. In: 999EMS, 26-27 March 2018, University of Stirling.

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2019-999abs.13

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Poster)
Item Status:Live Archive


Ambulance service employees have high sickness absence rates compared to other National Health Service (NHS) occupations. The aim of this study was to understand factors linked to sickness absence in front-line ambulance service
staff by determining whether there was an association between work and daily (non-work-related) stress, coping styles, demographic variables (health conditions, overtime hours, length of time in service, shift pattern, age and sex) and sickness absence.
We used a cross-sectional design. An opportunity sampling method was utilised to recruit full-time clinical and
management employees from a UK ambulance service to complete an online questionnaire. Multiple linear regression was used to determine whether and to what extent variation in sickness absence could be explained by the independent variables of interest listed.
A total of 101 participants, including paramedics, team leaders and ambulance technicians, completed the questionnaire.
Participants were aged 24 to 62 years (Mean [M] =45.29, Standard Deviation [SD]=9.97) with an average 13.8
years in the service (SD=9.67). Sickness absence rates ranged from 0 to 83.3% (M=8.92, SD=14.99). Work and daily
stress, coping styles, overtime hours and the presence of a health condition accounted for 17.5% of the variance in sickness absence with adjusted R2=13.2%. Work and daily stress, coping styles, overtime hours and the presence of a health condition significantly predicted sickness absence, F(5, 95) =4.039, p=0.002. Those with a health condition were 9.46 times more likely, on average, to have a leave of sickness absence.
Our findings suggest that the presence of a health condition may affect sickness absence more than stress and
coping styles. When designing interventions, it may be important to consider preventative measures that improve staff wellbeing and health status while also reducing sickness absence rates.

Keywords:employee turnover, organisational performance, sickness absence, regressions, health conditions, ambulance service
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B780 Paramedical Nursing
N Business and Administrative studies > N215 Organisational Development
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Institute of Health
ID Code:40155
Deposited On:17 Apr 2020 15:47

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