To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many staff in the Department were on long term sick leave in each of the last five years. 
My Department monitors the number of days lost to sickness year on year but cannot identify how many were attributable to long term absence without incurring disproportionate cost. 20 working days is the review point for considering whether a medical referral is appropriate, following which each case is judged on its own merits.The number of days lost to sickness absence throughout the civil service is published annually by the Cabinet Office in "Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service", the most recent of which (for the calendar year 2001) was announced by ministerial statement on 19 December 2002, and copies placed in the Libraries of the House. The 1999, 2000 and 2001 reports are available on the Cabinet Office website at www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/civilservice/publications/sickness/index. htm.The figures for 2002 will be announced in due course.My Department is committed to managing sick absence effectively and in meeting the 2003 target for reducing sickness absence (to an average of 7.5 days per person annually).