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Sick leave certification: a unique perspective on frequency and duration of episodes - a complete record of sickness certification in a defined population of employees in Malta.

Soler JK - BMC Fam Pract (2003)

Bottom Line: This trend was shown to be statistically significant.The frequency of sick-leave certification in Malta is comparable to that in other European countries, but the average duration of certificates is much less than reported in other studies that generally did not include data on short-term illness and certification.A number of common disorders were found to be significantly more prevalent causes of sickness certification in manual workers, amongst them anxiety and depression.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: jksoler@synapse.net.mt

ABSTRACT

Background: In Malta, sickness certificates are needed from the first day of illness, and are issued by family physicians (FPs) either employed by the government primary health care system, self-employed in private practice, or employed by an employer for this purpose alone. The latter system, when applied by the employer, is compulsory. In order to contribute to the debate on the role of the FP in this context, electronic data collected by a group of company-employed FPs was used to study the phenomenon of sickness certification. This database is a complete record of the selected employees' sick leave certification during the study period.

Methods: Data collected by company-employed FPs from a defined population was used: all employees of selected Maltese companies served by a group of FPs. The database included episode-based data from home visits over three years (01/01/1997 - 31/12/1999), by 9 company-appointed FPs regarding 421 employees of five companies.

Results: 3015 episodes of sickness absenteeism, with an average duration of 2.9 days, were documented. Employees who did intensive manual work had relatively higher rates. Furthermore, a relatively higher incidence of work injury, sprains and strains, anxiety and depression and low back pain as found in manual workers, and in male workers. This trend was shown to be statistically significant.

Conclusions: The frequency of sick-leave certification in Malta is comparable to that in other European countries, but the average duration of certificates is much less than reported in other studies that generally did not include data on short-term illness and certification. This has important implications on future research in the field. A number of common disorders were found to be significantly more prevalent causes of sickness certification in manual workers, amongst them anxiety and depression.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Number of episodes of a specified duration in days. X-axis – number of days certified sick Y-axis – number of episodes of specified duration in days
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Figure 1: Number of episodes of a specified duration in days. X-axis – number of days certified sick Y-axis – number of episodes of specified duration in days

Mentions: In the three-year period the 9 company-appointed FPs performed 3423 visits to the population of 421 employees, for 3015 episodes of sickness for which 8869 days sick were prescribed. Thus the average sickness certification was 7.02 days and 2.39 episodes per employee per annum (7,020 days and 2,390 episodes per 1000 employees per annum), and the average duration of an episode of sickness was 2.9 days. The number of episodes of a specified duration is displayed in Figure 1, and it can be seen that the distribution is, as expected, skewed to the right. The data per company is presented in Table 1: companies D and E, where employees did intensive manual work, had relatively high overall sickness certification rates. Whereas the rates of episodes and days sick for injury on duty, strains and sprains and low back pain were also higher in companies D and E, the figures for upper respiratory tract infections showed no such trend.


Sick leave certification: a unique perspective on frequency and duration of episodes - a complete record of sickness certification in a defined population of employees in Malta.

Soler JK - BMC Fam Pract (2003)

Number of episodes of a specified duration in days. X-axis – number of days certified sick Y-axis – number of episodes of specified duration in days
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC153541&req=5

Figure 1: Number of episodes of a specified duration in days. X-axis – number of days certified sick Y-axis – number of episodes of specified duration in days
Mentions: In the three-year period the 9 company-appointed FPs performed 3423 visits to the population of 421 employees, for 3015 episodes of sickness for which 8869 days sick were prescribed. Thus the average sickness certification was 7.02 days and 2.39 episodes per employee per annum (7,020 days and 2,390 episodes per 1000 employees per annum), and the average duration of an episode of sickness was 2.9 days. The number of episodes of a specified duration is displayed in Figure 1, and it can be seen that the distribution is, as expected, skewed to the right. The data per company is presented in Table 1: companies D and E, where employees did intensive manual work, had relatively high overall sickness certification rates. Whereas the rates of episodes and days sick for injury on duty, strains and sprains and low back pain were also higher in companies D and E, the figures for upper respiratory tract infections showed no such trend.

Bottom Line: This trend was shown to be statistically significant.The frequency of sick-leave certification in Malta is comparable to that in other European countries, but the average duration of certificates is much less than reported in other studies that generally did not include data on short-term illness and certification.A number of common disorders were found to be significantly more prevalent causes of sickness certification in manual workers, amongst them anxiety and depression.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: jksoler@synapse.net.mt

ABSTRACT

Background: In Malta, sickness certificates are needed from the first day of illness, and are issued by family physicians (FPs) either employed by the government primary health care system, self-employed in private practice, or employed by an employer for this purpose alone. The latter system, when applied by the employer, is compulsory. In order to contribute to the debate on the role of the FP in this context, electronic data collected by a group of company-employed FPs was used to study the phenomenon of sickness certification. This database is a complete record of the selected employees' sick leave certification during the study period.

Methods: Data collected by company-employed FPs from a defined population was used: all employees of selected Maltese companies served by a group of FPs. The database included episode-based data from home visits over three years (01/01/1997 - 31/12/1999), by 9 company-appointed FPs regarding 421 employees of five companies.

Results: 3015 episodes of sickness absenteeism, with an average duration of 2.9 days, were documented. Employees who did intensive manual work had relatively higher rates. Furthermore, a relatively higher incidence of work injury, sprains and strains, anxiety and depression and low back pain as found in manual workers, and in male workers. This trend was shown to be statistically significant.

Conclusions: The frequency of sick-leave certification in Malta is comparable to that in other European countries, but the average duration of certificates is much less than reported in other studies that generally did not include data on short-term illness and certification. This has important implications on future research in the field. A number of common disorders were found to be significantly more prevalent causes of sickness certification in manual workers, amongst them anxiety and depression.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus