Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) has launched a free health consultation guide to improve healthcare outcomes for seafarers.
The guide aims to bridge the gap between medical professionals and seafarers, building understanding of the risks of working at sea, health requirements of the Maritime Labour Convention, and the healthcare requirements of those that work at sea.
For seafarers, the guide offers advice on communicating their health concerns to healthcare professionals, the importance of keeping employers informed of medical recommendations, planning work schedules and leave periods, and ensuring follow-up appointments can be kept. It targets jobs across the maritime industry, from inshore fishing to oceangoing vessels.
SHS trustee, Dr Tim Carter, said: “Seafarers all too often find that when they see a health professional, whether it is a GP, a hospital doctor, a dentist or another clinical specialist, there is little understanding of their special healthcare needs. These may result from periods on board when they are not available for treatment or follow-up; it may be that they need prescriptions of longer duration than normal, or it may be that they need additional immunisations.
“Few health professionals are aware of the fitness requirements for seafarers and the need to expedite investigations while they are ashore or to place more emphasis on prevention, for instance, to reduce the risk of dental problems while at sea. All these are topics that I know led to misunderstandings during my fifteen years as a medical adviser to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).”
Download the Seafarer Health Consultation Guide here.