Medical and dental professionals are at high risk of work-related stress, burnout and mental health problems with almost one in two considering leaving their profession for reasons of personal wellbeing. The need to support and protect their wellbeing has therefore never been greater. Private health systems and organisations are typically smaller than their public counterparts, hence professionals working in that sector may have fewer support services and development opportunities available to them. There is also evidence that increased numbers of people are using private healthcare due to long waiting lists in the public sector placing private practitioners under increased pressure.
A risk management approach to identifying the causes of stress is imperative to eliminate or reduce the risks of work-related stresses. Nonetheless, existing psychosocial risk assessments do not adequately capture the nuances of healthcare workers’ experiences. New knowledge about the work experiences of medical and dental professionals working in the private sector and factors relating to private sector healthcare organisations is needed to develop interventions and resources that are more likely to deliver sustained benefits in managing work-related risks to health and wellbeing.
- In-depth interviews will be conducted with private sector professionals to understand the work-related risks to health and wellbeing of medical and dental professionals working in the private sector and strategies to address these.
- A survey will be conducted to inform the development of resources and interventions. This will combine questions informed by priorities identified in the interviews with established measures of the work environment, health and wellbeing outcomes and self-related performance outcomes. Questions will also take account of awareness and acceptability of strategies and interventions to support mental health at work.
- Development of practical outputs will include downloadable guidance and a short-form video resource to support professionals in identifying work-related risks and taking preventative and supportive action.
This study will inform on individual and work-related actions that can be taken to deliver sustained benefits in managing work-related risks to health and wellbeing to help medical and dental professionals thrive in their work.