STAFF at the Mid and South Essex Trust missed more days of work because of coronavirus last year than almost anywhere else in the country, figures reveal.

NHS data shows the equivalent of 196,265 full-time staff days were lost due to sickness at the trust between March and December.

Mid and South Essex Trust runs Broomfield Hospital as well as Basildon and Southend Hospitals.

Of these, 33,094 were because of Covid-19 – one of the highest of all the trusts in England, but behind Imperial College Healthcare, which lost 58,000 days.

Staff at the Mid and South Essex Trust were worst affected towards the beginning of the pandemic.

They were absent for 10,503 days because of coronavirus in April but were least impacted in August – losing 461 days.

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Across England around 2.5 million days were lost in the NHS due to the virus.

Deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said the "remarkable" work of the NHS during this challenging period must not be taken for granted and called for long-term support.

She added: “We urge the Government to ensure the NHS has the right levels of staff to build flexibility into the system by providing a fully costed and funded national workforce plan.

"This will help to relieve the pressure on staff, making it easier to cover sickness absences, while ensuring a manageable workload and a better work-life balance."

The NHS figures also show that support staff to doctors, nurses and midwives at the Mid and South Essex Trust were absent most often.

Between March and December, they were sick on a combined 72,406 days – 37% of all staff absences.