INVESTIGATING THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK OUTCOMES AMONG OPHTHALMOLOGY DOCTORS
K. Kuncewicz, King’s College London, UK
Currently, research suggests non-occupational health doctors rarely discuss occupation with patients. There is limited research on the attitudes and practices of doctors discussing patient occupation and return to work.
To explore the attitudes of ophthalmology doctors towards work as a clinical outcome and highlight occupational health (OH) education or training requirements.
A cross-sectional survey among doctors working in ophthalmology in two London hospitals. The survey explored the attitudes of doctors towards ‘work’ as a clinical outcome, their practices of asking patients about occupation, their perceived level of competency facilitating work focused discussions and the extent of training doctors they had received in this field.
Of the 30/72 clinicians who responded, only 27% ‘always’ discussed return to work during care planning, despite 87% agreeing or strongly agreeing that this should happen consistently. Over half of doctors received no formal OH training focused on discussing or assessing the impact of health on work and only 57% considered themselves competent in discussing work outcomes. 70% believed additional training would be useful, with the majority believing it would be most useful at all levels of medical training.
The majority of ophthalmology doctors regard ‘return to work’ as an important clinical outcome, but do not routinely discuss work outcomes with patients. Most doctors would benefit from additional OH training which models how to discuss work outcomes when formulating management plans, as part of the biopsychosocial model. We predict that introducing such training in medical school will improve postgraduate clinical practice.