Worker expectations of occupational health consultations.Occup Med (Lond). 2014 Apr; 64(3):177-80.OM
Worker beliefs and expectations influence their health and rehabilitation. However, little is known about worker expectations of occupational health (OH) consultations and if these are associated with their perceptions of health and work.
To examine worker expectations of OH consultations, and whether the variability of worker expectations is associated with their perception of health and work and personal characteristics.
A questionnaire on OH physicians' professional standards was developed from national guidance and validated by a survey of OH physicians. We explored 81 workers' expectations of professional standards along with their perception of health and work. Worker expectations were compared with the OH physician validation score. Associations of worker characteristics, their health and work perceptions and their expectations of professional standards were analysed by linear regression.
Worker expectations of professional standards were lower when compared with the OH physician validation score (E = 3.9 versus 4.3, ΔE = 0.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.30-0.66). Perceived manager support and work apprehension were associated with worker expectations (ΔE = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.29-0.86 for least versus most support; ΔE = 0.89, 95% CI: 0.41-1.36 for least versus highest apprehension). Job title, previous OH consultations and recovery expectations were not associated with worker expectations.
Worker expectations of OH physicians' professional standards were lower than the standards set by national guidance as validated by the sampled OH physicians. Workers who felt more supported by their manager, and workers who were more apprehensive about the health impact of work had higher expectations of OH physicians' standards.