Sickness absence

At a Glance
Trainees must notify Training Practice of absence

  • Educational Supervisor / Practice Manager must notify NES of absence using an ABS1 (please note this is best viewed in Internet Explorer)
  • NES GP Training HR log the absence and monitor for Trainees hitting 'triggers'
  • NES sickness absence triggers for review are:

4 separate episodes of absence or short-term absences totalling 8 or more working days within a rolling 12-month period or for longer-term absences of 29 calendar days or more

Any period of unauthorised absence

Sickness absence - further details

The purpose of this section is to provide practical advice and guidance to Practice Managers and Educational Supervisors in the management of Trainee sickness absence.

This guide takes into account relevant employment laws and best practice and is also designed to complement the management of sickness absence policy and does not seek to replace the policy in any way.

Practice Managers are advised to consider their approach when dealing with Trainee sickness absence, as there may be a requirement to vary the management of individual cases.  Whilst this section attempts to give as comprehensive advice and practical guidance as possible in what can often be a challenging area of management, it should not be treated as the complete and authoritative guide to every possible circumstance that may arise.  In most cases, Trainees are successfully managed through periods of sickness and resume regular work attendance.

Whilst being sensitive to Trainees who are unwell, it is the Practice Managers responsibility to be an effective and reasonable Manager.  If you are uncertain as to the application of any aspect of the policy or advice contained within this section in the first instance seek guidance from the NES GP Training HR Team.


Although the policy addresses short term and long term absence separately, in practice the distinction is not always so clear.  Practice Managers are advised to exercise discretion when managing individuals and should take into account the individuals circumstances and take advice from the NES GP Training HR Team.

Short Term Absence - lasts up to 20 working days (or 28 including the weekends)

-  One off occasional absence

-  Short term intermittent absence - this usually involves periods of short absence which occur intermittently over a period of months, or recurrent periods of short absence that form a pattern.

Long term absence - lasts for more than 20 working days (or 28 including the weekends)

-  Unauthorised absence - if sick leave is not reported or is taken for reasons other than genuine ill health, it is regarded as unauthorised absence and can be classed as misconduct under the disciplinary policy.  Where sick pay is claimed inappropriately, it can be regarded as gross misconduct and Trainees may be subject to disciplinary action.

-  A combination of sickness absence categories - in some circumstances a sickness absence pattern may not fall neatly into the categories previously described.  There may be a pattern which is a combination of sickness absences.  If this situation arises, the Practice Manager will need to discuss further with the GPU and Trainee's TPD who may consider this under conduct or capability during ARCPs.


1.  Trainees must notify the Training Practice of absence

Trainees must notify their Practice Manager or Educational Supervisor of sickness absence as soon as possible on their first day of absence.  For advice on reporting first day of absence, please see section 2.1 and section 2.2 for reporting absence after day one.

Sickness Absence policy

The purpose of this contact is to notify NES formally that sick leave is starting.  The Trainee needs to explain the reason for the sick leave, the likely duration and any action being taken by the Trainee e.g. going to see own doctor.  This discussion enables work to be re-distributed and for NES GP Training HR to process sick payments once notified.

2.  Once Notified the Practice Manager / Educational Supervisor must then notify  NES of absence

Practice Manager / Educational Supervisor should complete an ABS1 from the extranet and submit online.


3.  NES GPSTR HR Team log the absence

Return to work (RTW)

All Trainees are requested to complete the  RTW1 self-certification form in preparation for the return to work discussion, regardless of whether they also have a medical certificate for the period of absence.  Guidance on how to conduct a return to work discussion can be found within:

Managing Sickness Absence Policy

RTW1 Submission

When the RTW1 form is completed the Practice Manager should submit the Absence mailbox.

Medical Certificates

The Practice Manager should forward to GPSTR Team who will then copy to the Regional GP Unit and NES Payroll.

*HRBPs review the monthly absence reports and contact regional GPUs highlighting frequent/long term sickness/absence issues.  (Trigger points are used, see section 3.6.1 of the policy)