The Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) longitudinal survey of doctors is a trusted national resource producing key evidence to help ensure the sustainability of the sector, as well as delivery of better health outcomes and improved access to medical care.
The medical workforce remains central to solving a number of key challenges in the healthcare sector. The Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) longitudinal survey of doctors is a trusted national resource producing key evidence to help ensure the sustainability of the sector, as well as delivery of better health outcomes and improved access to medical care.
Healthcare is the largest sector of the economy, at over 10 per cent of GDP and employing 14 per cent of the Australian workforce, making it the largest employer in Australia. Policy makers need to ensure medical practitioners are highly motivated, productive and optimally distributed across locations and specialties. Yet this is not the case. Poor health and wellbeing, oversupply in cities but continuing doctor shortages in areas of high need, increasing specialisation, and the slow uptake of new evidence and innovations are key issues. Without a productive, motivated and appropriately skilled medical workforce, distributed equitably across Australia, innovations to save lives and prevent and reduce the burden of disease will not have the desired impact.
The research undertaken will improve understanding of the determinants of decisions made by doctors on how many hours to work, where to work in terms of sector, geographic location and specialty, when to stop work temporarily or permanently, and productivity. These decisions have, in turn, a key influence on access to health care by the population, health care costs, and ultimately population health.
MABEL has been endorsed by a range of national professional medical organisations, colleges, societies and training providers. MABEL is also supported by an active National Advisory Group to ensure that the evidence provided by MABEL is used.
Who is funding and conducting MABEL?
- This special online survey is being funded by ANZ Health. ANZ Health are funding a series of ANZ Melbourne Institute Health Sector Reports. The results of this survey will initially form the basis of our fourth report. The data collected from the survey is owned by the University of Melbourne and will be held by us and not shared with ANZ Health, apart from the graphs and summary statistics included in the report.
- Funding for previous MABEL surveys was provided by the National Health and Medical Research Council (2007 to 2016: 454799 and 1019605); the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (2008); Health Workforce Australia (2013); and in 2017 The University of Melbourne, Medibank Better Health Foundation, the NSW Ministry of Health, and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. In 2018 MABEL was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, and the Australian Digital Health Agency.
- The survey is being conducted and analysed by researchers at the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research at the University of Melbourne in collaboration with the University of Queensland and Monash University.
What will you be asked to do?
We are asking you to fill out a short questionnaire, which should take around 5-10 minutes to complete.
- You will be asked to complete the survey online (there is no hardcopy version).
- Go to our secure website www.mabel.org.au and log in using the username and password provided in the email.
How were you contacted?
You are being contacted because you have completed the MABEL survey before. Your name and address are held by the Australasian Medical Publishing Company (AMPCo). AMPCo provided us (under their own privacy guidelines) with a computer file containing your name, address, age, gender and your AMPCo unique identifier, as well as information on your field of practice. We need this information to check that our respondents are representative of all doctors in Australia. We then added our own unique MABEL username and password. This file was then returned to AMPCo who sent out the email on our behalf. If you have previously provided MABEL with your email address, we may have used this to email the survey to you.
I am retired but still undertaking a few hours per week of clinical work – should I fill out the survey?
Yes, please fill out the survey as best you can. We want to include all doctors who are doing any clinical work.
Will the information you provide remain confidential and secure?
Strict confidentiality will be maintained at all times and the information you provide will be protected. The information provided in the questionnaire will be kept for at least 15 years, as this is a longitudinal survey.
Information provided in the online survey will be encrypted and transmitted via a secure website. The data you provide will be stored on a secure server that can only be accessed by the research team and designated IT staff.
The information you provide in the questionnaire will be linked to your MABEL username and password only (and not your name and address). This is necessary so that we can use the baseline data you have provided to us from the last time you filled out the survey. The published results will not contain any identifiable information on individuals as all results are presented across aggregated groups of individuals.
Unit record (individual-level) data from the survey will be made available in a de-identified format for use by other researchers in other research projects, with prior ethical approval. This will enable the data to be used widely by other researchers, thus increasing the chances of influencing policy. De-identification means that all information in the data that could directly or indirectly be used to identify you is removed or aggregated to a less detailed level.
All researchers involved in this project must comply with the Privacy Act (1988) and data will be stored in accordance with the University of Melbourne's Management of Data and Research Records policy.
The Melbourne Institute and its staff operate within the University of Melbourne’s ethics guidelines and MABEL has been approved by the University’s Human Research Ethics Committee, as well as by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee.
Any concerns or complaints about the broad conduct of the survey should be directed to:
Human Research Ethics
The University of Melbourne
03 8344 2073
Ethics id number: 1954202
Participating in the survey is entirely voluntary and you can withdraw at any time. You can also choose to have any of your unprocessed data excluded from the analysis by contacting the research team and quoting your MABEL username (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Further information is available on the MABEL website www.mabel.org.au, by emailing email@example.com,au, phoning our dedicated helpline 03 8344 2600, or by contacting the Principal Investigator (Professor Anthony Scott, firstname.lastname@example.org. Ethics id number: 1954202).
- Where can I get more information?