Physicians tend to treat their own illnesses differently than the general population, sometimes continuing to come to work when ill. To assess whether family physicians continue to work when ill. A cross-sectional study with a convenience sample. A self-administered, anonymous questionnaire, that included socio-demographic data, questions relating to illness, and reasons for work absenteeism, was completed by family physicians in the Negev region of Israel. 107 physicians participated in the study including 46 women (43 %). The mean age was 45.1 ± 11.4. Forty physicians (37.4 %) said they come to work with an acute illness, 47 (43.9 %) answered that they do so some of the time, and 19 (17.8 %) said that they did not come to work ill. On a scale from 1 to 10 the mean score for the question as to whether physicians are liable to infect their patients was 7.4, with a higher score meaning more likely to infect. Older physicians were more likely to say that the decision to stay away from work was related to the lack of available physicians (P = 0.002), while board certified physicians were more likely than residents to stay away from work due to an acute illness (P = 0.023). Family physicians in the Negev sometimes work when they are ill. This finding has positive sides related to dedication to patients and the work place, but one cannot ignore the fact that patients may be infected by their physicians. Behavioral guidelines, including social, legal, and ethical aspects, should be formulated on this issue.
Family physicians Health Health-related absenteeism Illness behavior
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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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