Occupational health in general practice in an industrial area of Singapore
The aim of this study was to estimate the caseload with regard to the proportion of work-related medical cases in factory workers and to survey knowledge of and attitudes to occupational medicine among doctors in an industrial area in Singapore. To this end, a self-administered questionnaire was given to 74 general practitioners in the industrial district of Jurong in Singapore. Overall, there was an 89.2% response rate. Thirty-three of the 66 respondents were males. Mean age was 40.8 years
... was 40.8 years (range 27-64 years). Twenty-four (36%) had some postgraduate training in occupational medicine (GP-OM) while the rest did not (GP). The caseload for all doctors was similar with regard to the number of adult patients and, more specifically, the number of factory workers seen per day. The majority of doctors (76.6%) felt that <10% of factory workers seen had work-related problems. Most (70%) felt confident in dealing with the occupational problems that arose. However, a large percentage (78% of GPs, 45.8% of GP-OMs) felt that training in occupational medicine was inadequate. This is reflected in the knowledge questions, where GPs did not score as well as GP-OMs. It was concluded that GPs working in this industrial area see a good proportion of factory workers, in a fair number of cases for work-related problems. However, only a third of the GPs are qualified in occupational medicine. These factors highlight the need for more emphasis on occupational medicine training among general practitioners, especially those working in industrial areas.