Workforce safety in the remote health sector of Australia: a scoping review

Wright, Laura Kimberley, Jatrana, Santosh, and Lindsay, David (2021) Workforce safety in the remote health sector of Australia: a scoping review. BMJ Open, 11. e051345.

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Objectives: To scope the evidence surrounding workplace health and safety risks for the remote health workforce in Australia and to collate the recommendations to address those risks.

Design: A five-stage scoping review framework refined by Cooper et al was used for this review. Informit Health Collection, Ovid Emcare, Medline, Web of Science Core Collection, ProQuest and the grey literature were searched in October 2020 using a combination of key words derived from the eligibility criteria. No date restriction was placed on the search. Title and abstract screening, full-text review and data extraction were performed by three reviewers. Data were analysed by the lead author using qualitative thematic analysis.

Eligibility criteria: Articles were eligible for inclusion if they were published research or industry reports, focused on safety for the remote health workforce in Australia, identified hazards/safety risks or recommendations to reduce risk, and were written in English.

Results: The search yielded 312 articles, of which 18 met the inclusion criteria. A wide range of hazards/safety risks and recommendations were identified within the literature, which related to safety culture, isolation, safe environment, and education and training. Some recommendations, such as the use of a risk management approach, good post-incident support, safer clinics and accommodation, and improved access to education and training, had been discussed in the literature for over a decade, with a high level of agreement regarding their importance. Two articles briefly evaluated the impact of some recommendations.

Conclusion: While many recommendations have been developed to improve the safety of the remote health workforce in Australia, there is little evidence of their implementation and evaluation. As many remote health professionals report ongoing or worsening workplace safety issues, there is an urgent need for the implementation and evaluation of the workforce safety strategies recommended in the literature and required by legislation.

Item ID: 69409
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2044-6055
Copyright Information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2021 01:55
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420321 Rural and remote health services @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2003 Provision of health and support services > 200399 Provision of health and support services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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