NHS workers have on average 10.7 days per employee per year on the sick, the total number of days lost was 10.3 million costing £1.7 billion. The average number of days sickness in the public sector is 9.7 days per employee and in the private sector it is 6.4 days. These are stark and disturbing figures at a time of budget pressures on all public services. Much has been done over the years to reduce sickness absence and if I recall it used to be about 15 days per employee per year. The introduction of strict absence management policies, management interventions and referral to occupational health have all helped to reduce the figure.
It may well be that the NHS may have policies in place with management interventions but my experience suggests that many managers do not intervene when staff are off sick, I know of two people who were on the sick for 3 to 4 months and had NO contact from their line managers and returned to work of their own accord.
Perhaps the NHS need to ensure that they employ managers to manage and then perhaps the days lost through sickness might just fall.