The NHS England launched on 7 March 2018 a new research report entitled ‘Employee engagement, sickness absence and agency spend in NHS trusts’, commissioned by NHS England and produced by The King’s Fund. Relying on data from 2016-2017, the report shows that improved staff engagement is associated with low rates of staff sickness absence and reduced agency staffing costs.

Speaking at the Chief Nursing Officer’s summit in Liverpool, the NHS England Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, explained that the research confirms that there is a “virtuous circle. Where hospitals and community services involve and engage their frontline staff, sickness absence is low and expensive temporary agency costs are lower. That’s a win for nurses, who are the largest group of health professionals. But it also benefits patients and taxpayers.”