PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to describe the self-reported long-term conditions of medical officers and allied health staff working in a regional public health service in northern Australia and how these conditions are managed.Design/methodology/approachA cross-sectional survey design was used. The sample was all medical officers and allied health staff employed in mid-2015.FindingsOf the 365 respondents, 217 (59.5 per cent) reported having at least one long-term condition. There was a statistically significant association between professional group and the number of long-term conditions reported, χ2=10.24, p<0.05. A greater proportion of medical officers (n=29, 43.9 per cent) reported having only one long-term condition compared with allied health staff (n=36, 24.5 per cent). The top four categories of conditions were respiratory, musculoskeletal, mental health and episodic and paroxysmal, although the patterns varied amongst the professional groups, and across age groups. Respondents usually managed their main long-term conditions with personal strategies, rarely using workplace strategies.Research limitations/implicationsAlthough somewhat low, the response rate of 32 per cent was similar to previous surveys in this health service. Since this survey, the health service has implemented a broad Health and Wellness Programme to support their qualified workforce. Future evaluations of this programme will be undertaken, including whether the programme has assisted health professionals to manage their long-term conditions.Practical implicationsThere is an urgent need for targeted, workplace-based health promotion strategies to support staff with long-term conditions. Such strategies would complement self-management approaches, and also provide an important recruitment and retention initiative.Originality/valueThis study adds empirical evidence regarding the long-term conditions among health professionals and their self-management strategies. Little is known about the long-term conditions among the various health professional groups and the findings thus make an important contribution to the existing literature.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 4, 2017