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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Pages (from-to)25-39
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Paramedic Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

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