A gap analysis of the maritime practitioners' service profile compared to general practitioners

Background
Seafarers travel across the globe, and very often they have difficulty  seeking timely health services. In this sense, they are a "hard to reach" population group.

Good health is a prerequisite for seafarers to perform their work safely and satisfactorily at sea. This is why the pre-employment health examinations are so important when it comes to obtaining their work fitness certificates and completing their work tasks excellently during the many months at sea. These health examinations are usually performed by maritime medical practitioners who should be familiar with the working environment in ships. In addition, seagoing employees may consult their regular general practitioner for other health concerns.

The International Maritime Conventions have highlighted the need for countries to have in place specific guidance with regards to seafarers’ examinations and needs.

Purpose
The objectives are to investigate the breadth of services and to follow up on practices offered to maritime employees by the maritime medical practitioners as well as the GPs. The final goal is to determine maritime medical practitioners’ and GPs’ perceived training needs so that relevant continuing medical education can be developed.

Method
This cross-sectional study involves all the maritime medical practitioners and a representative sample of general practitioners using an electronic and anonymous questionnaire. It is based on international standards, coupled with a scoping review.

Expected results
The analysis of the results will offer an insight into the service profiles and may point out differences in training needs between the maritime medical practitioners and the general practitioners. The study is expected to identify areas of knowledge that may need to be updated so that doctors optimize their services to their seagoing populations. The results could be used as guidelines for continuing professional development of these medical specialties and contribute to informed decisions making.

Project team
Senior researcher Despena Andrioti, Centre of Maritime Health and Society, SDU (project leader)
Senior researcher Olaf Chresten Jensen, Centre of Maritime Health and Society, SDU (coordinator)
Postdoc Jette Videbæk Le, Research Unit of General Practice, SDU

Timeline
January-September 2017

Economy
The project is co-financed by:
The Danish Maritime Fund

Final report
Download and read the final report here: A Gap analysis of the Maritime doctors' service profile compared to General practitioners.