A retrospective study of post mortem staff who had taken leave due to sickness was carried out over a 12 month period throughout England and Wales. Eight hundred and nineteen post mortem room personnel (representing a 57% response) replied to individual postal questionnaires regarding their sick leave of two days or more, for the period June 1985 to June 1986. Complete responses were available for 751. Post mortem room technical staff reported more mean days sickness per person (7.8) than either pathologists (1.6) or a control group of coroners' officers (3.9). The annual inception rate (frequency by spells) was also higher among technicians than the other two groups. Technical staff had more infectious disease (0.73 mean days of absence compared with pathologist (0.10) or coroners' officers (0.12] and more frequent absences due to cuts and lacerations.
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