In recent times we have seen greater awareness of the impact of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) work, particularly for people employed in the mining and construction industries. A qualitative study published in the British Medical Journal in March this year, investigated the Mental health and well-being concerns of fly-in fly-out workers and their partners.This is an enlightening read in considering the health and wellbeing of other FIFO workers including locums and other FIFO doctors servicing our most isolated communities in Australia.
The authors of the study suggest that “FIFO organisations may need to acknowledge, in a manner more visible and transparent to employees, the importance of worker health and well-being, and offer unconditional support to address their concerns… “FIFO organisations, and their employees, may benefit from implementing workplace health and well-being programmes codesigned by management and employees to address these concerns.”
Whilst this recommendation is easier to implement in organisations with many staff and a human resource department, what does it look like for small organisations which may only employ one doctor?
In Australia, we have seen Government financial incentives provided to doctors in more remote locations for many years. However, we still have a considerable workforce shortage in rural and remote areas and Aboriginal communities. Remuneration has not succeeded in being enticement enough to address the workforce gaps.
It is time to better acknowledge the work of doctors caring for our communities with the greatest needs and better understand and support these doctors’ social and professional needs.
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