Aspects of health among an employed population
This survey collected information on aspects of health amongst an employed population, employees in 14 different organisations in the West Midlands Regional Health Authority; and was a stratified sample of senior managers, middle managers and operatives. Nine hundred and sixty questionnaires were distributed asking for both quantitative and qualitative information on 58 questions covering health, work, family, leisure activities and life-style. A response rate of 48% (459 returned questionnaires) came from 290 men (63%), 165 women (36%) and four people (1%) who did not answer the gender question. The initial findings from this study are unique in that there has not been a specific review of the health of people at work. In answer to the main research questions, 92% felt they were healthy. Compared to others of a similar age, 34% felt their health was `above average', 58% `average', and 7&37 `below average'. Thirty two percent of respondents had visited their GP in the past 1-2 months; the highest reason given was disorders of the respiratory system, 20%. People's perceptions on the effects of work on their health were: good effect, 13% fair effect, 20% no effect, 27% poor effect, 27% and bad effect, 7%. The effects of leisure activities on health were thought to be more positive: good effect, 46% fair effect, 20% no effect, 21% poor effect, 3% and bad effect, 2%. The perceptions of effects of life-style on health were considered to be: good effect, 32% fair effect, 32% no effect, 20% poor effect, 9% and bad effect, 1%. In this survey, leisure and life-style were seen by employees to have more beneficial effects on health than work. Future implications include a review of occupational health as a major policy development area within primary care. There is a need to influence the education and training of health care practitioners in order to affect their ability to practise effectively in this new and challenging area of work.