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Australian doctors are more engaged than UK doctors: why is this the case?


Background Despite reports highlighting the need for greater medical engagement and the benefits of being widely understood, very little information is available on the status of medical engagement in Australia, and how this compares to the UK. Answering this question will no doubt assist training bodies, curriculum designers and policy makers better understand relevant issues.

Methods The medical engagement questionnaire (MES) was emailed to all medical staff working at 159 UK National Health Service Trusts and 18 health service organisations in Australia. The questionnaire consists of 30 predetermined items seeking responses using a 5-point Likert scale.

Results Overall, doctors in the Australian dataset are slightly more engaged, or more positive, than their UK colleagues. Good interpersonal relationships was the only variable that UK doctors scored more positively than their Australian counterparts. At the lower end of the responses, that is the least engaged, we found this even more apparent. Where doctors in Australia are less disengaged, that is still more positive than the UK colleagues.

Conclusion While the profiles of medical engagement vary at the sites and also across the MES and subscales, the data illustrate that overall doctors in Australia feel valued and empowered, and they have purpose and direction and work in a collaborate culture. At the most disengaged end of the scale, Australian doctors are markedly less disengaged than their UK counterparts. There may be numerous factors that influence and change how engaged doctors are in both countries. The most prominent of these are appear to be working conditions and lifestyle, driven by funding and other economics issues. This research is likely to be of great interest to regulators and training bodies in both countries.

  • medical leadership
  • engagement
  • health policy
  • measurement

Data availability statement

No data are available. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information. The data is not available for both ethical (client confidentiality) and commercial (commercially-in-confidence) reasons.

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