The sickness absence rate for staff has often been associated with organisational health (Buchanan & Huczynski, Organizational Behaviour, 2016). Sickness rates can significantly impact on day to day staffing levels in wards and key services, and places pressure on other aspects of performance. But does this key performance indicator link to CQC rating?

Evidence from Public View presented in Figure 1 suggests that there might be a very small correlation. It is interesting how similar the absence rate between CQC rating groups is and how they all demonstrate the same seasonal variation.

Figure 1: Trend chart showing CQC group staff sickness absence rate

Maybe this reflects NHS standard terms and conditions more than organisations’ individual leadership and management.

Whilst not a typical workforce-related indicator, or one often seen on NHS Trusts Integrated Performance Reports, National Staff Survey results offer a glimpse behind the scenes of what life, work and care might be like in each organisation. In addition to the National Staff Survey ( there are quarterly surveys of staff via the Friends and Family Test indicator.

The metrics derived from this survey, in particular ‘the percentage that would recommend the trust as a place to receive care’ show strong visible correlation to CQC rating (see figure 2). However, it is of some concern that the staff feedback appears to be worsening in ‘Inadequate’ and ‘Requires Improvement’ rated Trusts.

Figure 2: Trend chart showing CQC group friends and family staff scores

In our final blog of the series we will be exploring whether it is possible to amalgamate operations, quality, finance and workforce into a single metric to predict CQC rating and review overall NHS Trust health over time.  To get early sight of the this single metric click here to register for an account.