Why taxi drivers do not access health services for OSAS symptoms: an exploratory study

People experiencing symptoms of sleep disorders may face barriers to accessing appropriate diagnostic and treatment services, including work related issues for professional drivers. A questionnaire distributed to drivers of two large taxi companies were used to identify those at high risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS), which includes repeated respiratory disruption during sleep and daytime sleepiness. High-risk drivers were recruited into three focus groups (Maori/Pacific peoples, New Zealand Europeans, and other ethnicities), as there is evidence for ethnic disparities in access to health services. Three main themes were identified across the focus groups: 1. Sleepiness was not perceived as a health concern, due to lack of knowledge and awareness of the problem, and its minimisation in the taxi driving culture. 2. There were demands of working in a competitive deregulated industry with an oversupply of drivers and a lack of clear policies on occupational safety and health issues. 3. There was pressure to earn sufficient income to set up as a taxi driver and support one's dependants. The findings emphasise that beliefs and norms in the workplace culture, as well as personal knowledge, responsibilities and ambitions, can constitute barriers to accessing specialist sleep services. A multi-faceted approach is needed to improve the sleep health of taxi drivers, including strategies at the regulatory, company and personal level.

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  • Accession Number: 01151974
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ITRD, ARRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 16 2010 6:05AM