Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust reduces staff MSK absence costs by >£1m in 6 months with the aid of Empactis

Nurse with back ache - MSK absence case study

New NHS Trust case study shows how Returns To Work were accelerated, average MSK staff absence durations reduced and cash savings secured at a conservative estimate of >£100k per month for musculoskeletal sickness absences.

Since June 2022, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) has used Empactis to help deliver an innovative programme to tackle the very costly issue of Musculoskeletal (MSK) staff absence – a challenge that every NHS Trust shares.

Musculoskeletal health issues were previously costing MFT a whopping £7 million plus per year in direct sickness absence costs alone.

That is without taking associated costs such as management time and impacts on workforce productivity into account.

Empactis has been working with MFT for some years to help it manage staff absences, employee relations cases and employee health management. When MFT’s Employee Health and Wellbeing team decided to apply for national NHS funding for advancing Occupational Health in line with the Growing Occupational Health & Wellbeing Strategy, supporting the NHS Workforce Plan, they knew that the Empactis platform was already in place and would play a critical enabling role.

A new holistic system to support staff MSK absence and health

MFT’s trailblazing system gained an initial £500k in national funding, which it used to create an innovative standardised and holistic Absence Support Service.

It was created and managed in close collaboration between Employee Health and Wellbeing and Physio teams. The aim was to ensure all 28,000 staff could all gain access to the service, and obtain MSK health support when needed.

MSK absence costs

The results have been demonstrable and highly significant. Having secured more than £1 million in savings in the first six months alone, here are now confident predictions of around £2.16m in direct MSK absence cost savings each and every year, going forward.

Small wonder that the MFT Board were swift to commit to keep and potentially build on this groundbreaking programme.

Marisa Pickerill, Assistant Director of Employee Health and Wellbeing led this initiative for MFT, working with Fiona Larsen, Occupational Health Physiotherapy Lead, who coordinated physiotherapist engagement and drove education around MSK health.

They have shared not only their experiences but copious direct data around MSK absence cost savings, speed of returns to work, staff feedback and much more in our latest case study. It is a must-read for every NHS Trust.

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