Understanding sickness absence in the ambulance service

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.