688 What are the issues and the future for healthcare workers and what part does occupational health and safety play?

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IntroductionHealth, safety, wellbeing and work are inextricably linked. In healthcare these are interrelated with patient safety and quality of experience, care and outcomes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies that creating ‘Healthy Workplaces’ is the right, legal and smart thing to do (2010). What importance is given to this in healthcare?MethodsA recent Masters studies in a large healthcare facility revealed an abundance of evidence of the critical relationships in creating healthy workplaces. These were reinforced through a ground level qualitative audit and ongoing work. They were, aligned with a Maori cultural perspective of health, Te Whare Tapa Whā and the WHO ‘Healthy Workplaces’ definition and action model.ResultThrough onoging collaborative work, using an enviromental scan and gap analysis, we have developed a three year strategic, quality improvement strategy with fifteen aims. The thematic analysis from the study is guiding our journey.DiscussionPscychosocial risks are noted as being one of the greatest health and safety challenges of the modern day workplace. Do we have enough focus or understanding on these and how to manage them? What are the effects on healthcare workers?The international health sector is seeing signs of increasing burnout, stress, moral distress, emotional exhaustion and increasing reports of bullying and harrassment. Additionally it has an ageing workforce; known effects on shiftworkers; increasing long term conditions inclusive of poor mental health; new ways of working; changing technology and people having to do more with less. These are already impacting on workers and workplaces.Where does Occupational Health and Safety fit in? What are we doing and is it time to bridge the gap with more connected, collaborative approaches with public health, organisational health and others? We cannot afford to ignore the critical interfaces, as the cost of inaction is high at many levels.

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