Mental health, well-being and support interventions for UK ambulance services staff: an evidence map 2000 to 2020

Lucy V. Clark, Roberta Fida, Jane Skinner, Jamie Murdoch, Nigel Rees, Julia Williams, Theresa Foster, Kristy Sanderson

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Abstract

Background:
Prior to COVID-19 there had been a renewed policy focus in the National Health Service on the health and well-being of the healthcare workforce, with the ambulance sector identified as a priority area. This focus is more important than ever as the sector deals with the acute and longer-term consequences of a pandemic.

Aim:
To systematically identify, summarise and map the evidence regarding mental health, well-being and support interventions for United Kingdom ambulance services staff and to identify evidence gaps.

Method:
Evidence mapping methodology of published and grey original research published in English from 1 January 2000 to 23 May 2020 describing the health risk, mental health and/or well-being of UK ambulance services staff including retired staff, volunteers and students. MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO, CINAHL and AMED databases, plus EThOS, Zetoc, OpenGrey and Google, were searched, alongside hand-searching of grey literature and bibliographies. Information was extracted on study aims, sample, design and methodology, funding source, country and key findings. Included studies were categorised into seven a priori theme areas.

Results:
Of 1862 identified articles, 45 peer-reviewed studies are included as well as 24 grey literature documents. Peer-reviewed research was largely observational and focused on prevalence studies, post-traumatic stress disorder or organisational and individual social factors related to health and well-being. Most grey literature reported the development and testing of interventions. Across all study types, underpinning theory was often not cited.

Conclusion:
To date, intervention research has largely been funded by charities and published in the grey literature. Few studies were identified on self-harm, bullying, sleep and fatigue or alcohol and substance use. Theoretically informed intervention development and testing, including adaptation of innovations from other countries and 24-hour workforces, is needed. This evidence map provides important context for planning of staff well-being provision and research as the sector responds to and recovers from the pandemic. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42018104659.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Paramedic Journal
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

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