Medical migration sees the providers of medical services (in particular medical practitioners) moving from one region or country to another. This creates problems for the provision of public health and medical services and poses challenges for laws in the nation state and for laws in the global community.
There exists a global shortage of healthcare professionals. Nation states and health rights movements have been both responsible for, and responsive to, this global community shortage through a variety of health policy, regulation and legislation which directly affects the migration of medical providers. The microcosm responses adopted by individual nation states, such as Australia, to this workforce shortage further impact on the global workforce shortage through active recruitment of overseas-trained healthcare professionals. "Push" and "pull" factors exist which encourage medical migration of healthcare professionals. A nation state's approach to health policy, regulation and legislation dramatically helps to create these "push factors" and "pull factors". A co-ordinated global response is required with individual nation states being cognisant of the impact of their health policy, regulations and legislation on the global community through the medical migration of healthcare professionals.
Rural and remote areas of Australia are facing serious health workforce shortages. While a number of schemes have been developed to improve recruitment to and retention of the rural health workforce, they will be effective only if appropriately targeted. This study examines the factors that most encourage students attending rural clinical placements to work in rural Australia, and the regions they prefer.
The Careers in Rural Health Tracking Survey was used to examine the factors that most influence medical, nursing and allied health students' preference for practice locations and the locations preferred.
Students showed a preference for working in large urban centres within one year, but would consider moving to a more rural location later in life. Only 10% of students surveyed said they would never work in a rural community with a population of less than 10 000. Almost half the sample (45%) reported wanting to work overseas within five years. The type of work available in rural areas was found to be the factor most likely to encourage students to practice rurally, followed by career opportunities and challenge
The decision to practise rurally is the result of a complex interaction between a number of factors including ethnicity, discipline, age and sex, among others. Incentives that aim to entice all students to rural practice while considering only one of these variables are likely to be inadequate.
In an attempt to devise a simpler computable tool to assist workforce planners in determining what might be an appropriate mix of health service skills, our discussion led us to consider the implications of skill mixing and workforce composition beyond the 'stock and flow' approach of much workforce planning activity.
Taking a dynamic systems approach, we were able to address the interactions, delays and feedbacks that influence the balance between the major components of health and health care.
We linked clinical workforce requirements to clinical workforce workload, taking into account the requisite facilities, technologies, other material resources and their funding to support clinical care microsystems; gave recognition to productivity and quality issues; took cognisance of policies, governance and power concerns in the establishment and operation of the health care system; and, going back to the individual, gave due attention to personal behaviour and biology within the socio-political family environment.
We have produced the broad endogenous systems model of health and health care which will enable human resource planners to operate within real world variables. We are now considering the development of simple, computable national versions of this model.
This paper reviews the challenges facing the public health workforce in developing countries and the main policy issues that must be addressed in order to strengthen the public health workforce. The public health workforce is diverse and includes all those whose prime responsibility is the provision of core public health activities, irrespective of their organizational base. Although the public health workforce is central to the performance of health systems, very little is known about its composition, training or performance. The key policy question is: Should governments invest more in building and supporting the public health workforce and infrastructure to ensure the more effective functioning of health systems? Other questions concern: the nature of the public health workforce, including its size, composition, skills, training needs, current functions and performance; the appropriate roles of the workforce; and how the workforce can be strengthened to support new approaches to priority health problems.
The available evidence to shed light on these policy issues is limited. The World Health Organization is supporting the development of evidence to inform discussion on the best approaches to strengthening public health capacity in developing countries. WHO's priorities are to build an evidence base on the size and structure of the public health workforce, beginning with ongoing data collection activities, and to map the current public health training programmes in developing countries and in Central and Eastern Europe. Other steps will include developing a consensus on the desired functions and activities of the public health workforce and developing a framework and methods for assisting countries to assess and enhance the performance of public health training institutions and of the public health workforce.
The overall human resource shortages and the distributional inequalities in the health workforce in many developing countries are well acknowledged. However, little has been done to measure the degree of inequality systematically. Moreover, few attempts have been made to analyse the implications of using alternative measures of health care needs in the measurement of health workforce distributional inequalities. Most studies have implicitly relied on population levels as the only criterion for measuring health care needs. This paper attempts to achieve two objectives. First, it describes and measures health worker distributional inequalities in Tanzania on a per capita basis; second, it suggests and applies additional health care needs indicators in the measurement of distributional inequalities.
We plotted Lorenz and concentration curves to illustrate graphically the distribution of the total health workforce and the cadre-specific (skill mix) distributions. Alternative indicators of health care needs were illustrated by concentration curves. Inequalities were measured by calculating Gini and concentration indices.
There are significant inequalities in the distribution of health workers per capita. Overall, the population quintile with the fewest health workers per capita accounts for only 8% of all health workers, while the quintile with the most health workers accounts for 46%. Inequality is perceptible across both urban and rural districts. Skill mix inequalities are also large. Districts with a small share of the health workforce (relative to their population levels have an even smaller share of highly trained medical personnel. A small share of highly trained personnel is compensated by a larger share of clinical officers (a middle-level cadre) but not by a larger share of untrained health workers. Clinical officers are relatively equally distributed. Distributional inequalities tend to be more pronounced when under-five deaths are used as an indicator of health care needs. Conversely, if health care needs are measured by HIV prevalence, the distributional inequalities appear to decline.
The measure of inequality in the distribution of the health workforce may depend strongly on the underlying measure of health care needs. In cases of a non-uniform distribution of health care needs across geographical areas, other measures of health care needs than population levels may have to be developed in order to ensure a more meaningful measurement of distributional inequalities of the health workforce.
As many countries face primary care medical workforce shortages and find it difficult to provide timely and affordable care they seek to find new ways of delivering first point of contact health care through developing new service models. In common with other areas of rural and regional Australia, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is currently experiencing a general practitioner (GP) workforce shortage which impacts significantly on the ability of patients to access GP led primary care services. The introduction of a nurse led primary care Walk-in Centre in the ACT aimed to fulfill an unmet health care need in the community and meet projected demand for health care services as well as relieve pressure on the hospital system. Stakeholders have the potential to influence health service planning and policy, to advise on the potential of services to meet population health needs and to assess how acceptable health service innovation is to key stakeholder groups. This study aimed to ascertain the views of key stakeholders about the Walk-in Centre.
Stakeholders were purposively selected through the identification of individuals and organisations which had organisational or professional contact with the Walk-in Centre. Semi structured interviews around key themes were conducted with seventeen stakeholders.
Stakeholders were generally supportive of the Walk-in Centre but identified key areas which they considered needed to be addressed. These included the service's systems, full utilisation of the nurse practitioner role and adequate education and training. It was also suggested that a doctor could be available to the Centre as a source of referral for patients who fall outside the nurses' scope of practice. The location of the Centre was seen to impact on patient flows to the Emergency Department.
Nurse led Walk-in Centres are one response to addressing primary health care medical workforce shortages. Whilst some stakeholders have reservations about the model others are supportive and see the potential the model has to provide accessible primary health care. Any further developments of nurse-led Walk-in Centres need to take into account the views of key stakeholders so as to ensure that the model is acceptable and sustainable.
Reports generated by the workforce information system can be used by ASCO and others in the oncology community to advocate for needed health care system and policy changes to help offset future workforce shortages.
In anticipation of oncologist workforce shortages projected as part of a 2007 study, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) worked with a contractor to create a workforce information system (WIS) to assemble the latest available data on oncologist supply and cancer incidence and prevalence. ASCO plans to publish findings annually, reporting on new data and tracking trends over time.
The WIS report is composed of three sections: supply, new entrants, and cancer incidence and prevalence. Tabulations of the number of oncologists in the United States are derived mainly from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile. Information on fellows and residents in the oncology workforce pipeline come from published sources such as Journal of the American Medical Association. Incidence and prevalence estimates are published by the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute.
The WIS reports a total of 13,084 oncologists working in the United States in 2011. Oncologists are defined as those physicians who designate hematology, hematology/oncology, or medical oncology as their specialty. The WIS compares the characteristics of these oncologists with those of all physicians and tracks emerging trends in the physician training pipeline.
Observing characteristics of the oncologist workforce over time allows ASCO to identify, prioritize, and evaluate its workforce initiatives. Accessible figures and reports generated by the WIS can be used by ASCO and others in the oncology community to advocate for needed health care system and policy changes to help offset future workforce shortages.
More than thirty-five sub-Saharan African countries have severe health workforce shortages. Many also struggle with a mismatch between the knowledge and competencies of health professionals and the needs of the populations they serve. Addressing these workforce challenges requires collaboration among health and education stakeholders and reform of health worker regulations. Health professional regulatory bodies, such as nursing and midwifery councils, have the mandate to reform regulations yet often do not have the resources or expertise to do so. In 2011, the United States of America Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began a four-year initiative to increase the collaboration among national stakeholders and help strengthen the capacity of health professional regulatory bodies to reform national regulatory frameworks. The initiative is called the African Health Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives. This article describes the African Health Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives and discusses its importance in implementing and sustaining national, regional, and global workforce initiatives.
The African Health Profession Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives convenes leaders responsible for regulation from 14 countries in East, Central and Southern Africa. It provides a high profile, south-to-south collaboration to assist countries in implementing joint approaches to problems affecting the health workforce. Implemented in partnership with Emory University, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the East, Central and Southern African College of Nursing, this initiative also supports four to five countries per year in implementing locally-designed regulation improvement projects. Over time, the African Health Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives will help to increase the regulatory capacity of health professional organizations and ultimately improve regulation and professional standards in this region of Africa. The African Health Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives will measure the progress of country projects and conduct an annual evaluation of the initiative’s regional impact, thereby contributing to the global evidence base of health workforce interventions.
The African Health Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives is designed to address priority needs in health workforce development and improve regulation of the health workforce. This model may assist others countries and regions facing similar workforce challenges.
Health workforce; Regulation; Health profession; Human resources for health; Collaborative; Global health; Regional approach; Strengthening; Nursing; Midwifery
Modern healthcare managers are faced with pressure to deliver effective, efficient services within the context of fixed budget constraints. Managers are required to make decisions regarding the skill mix of the workforce particularly when staffing new services. One measure used to identify numbers and mix of staff in healthcare settings is workforce ratio. The aim of this study was to identify workforce ratios in nine allied health professions and to identify whether these measures are useful for planning allied health workforce requirements.
A systematic literature search using relevant MeSH headings of business, medical and allied health databases and relevant grey literature for the period 2000-2008 was undertaken.
Twelve articles were identified which described the use of workforce ratios in allied health services. Only one of these was a staffing ratio linked to clinical outcomes. The most comprehensive measures were identified in rehabilitation medicine.
The evidence for use of staffing ratios for allied health practitioners is scarce and lags behind the fields of nursing and medicine.
Aims and objectives
This paper provides a context for this special edition. It highlights the scale of the challenge of nursing shortages, but also makes the point that there is a policy agenda that provides workable solutions.
An overview of nurse:population ratios in different countries and regions of the world, highlighting considerable variations, with Africa and South East Asia having the lowest average ratios. The paper argues that the ‘shortage’ of nurses is not necessarily a shortage of individuals with nursing qualifications, it is a shortage of nurses willing to work in the present conditions. The causes of shortages are multi-faceted, and there is no single global measure of their extent and nature, there is growing evidence of the impact of relatively low staffing levels on health care delivery and outcomes. The main causes of nursing shortages are highlighted: inadequate workforce planning and allocation mechanisms, resource constrained undersupply of new staff, poor recruitment, retention and ‘return’ policies, and ineffective use of available nursing resources through inappropriate skill mix and utilisation, poor incentive structures and inadequate career support.
What now faces policy makers in Japan, Europe and other developed countries is a policy agenda with a core of common themes. First, themes related to addressing supply side issues: getting, keeping and keeping in touch with relatively scarce nurses. Second, themes related to dealing with demand side challenges. The paper concludes that the main challenge for policy makers is to develop a co-ordinated package of policies that provide a long term and sustainable solution.
Relevance to clinical practice
This paper highlights the impact that nursing shortages has on clinical practice and in health service delivery. It outlines scope for addressing shortage problems and therefore for providing a more positive staffing environment in which clinical practice can be delivered.
nurses; nursing; workforce issues; workforce planning
Australia is currently experiencing widespread shortages of psychiatrists. The changing nature of the workforce and increasing demand mean that these shortages are unlikely to ease. This study aims to identify demographic change and retirement patterns of the Australian psychiatry workforce from 1995 to 2003, and the implications of those changes for future workforce planning.
Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Medical Labour Force Survey from 1995 to 2003 is used to examine ageing of the psychiatry workforce and attrition of psychiatrists aged 50 years and over. Future attrition from the workforce is projected to 2025.
Sixty two percent of psychiatrists practicing in the year 2000 are predicted to have retired by 2025. Most psychiatrists continue to work until late in life, with only 18 per cent retiring before age 65. The psychiatry workforce aged significantly between 1995 and 2003 (p < 0.001), with men older than women in both years. A reduction in hours worked by psychiatrists reflects both the increasing proportion of females and the older members of the profession reducing their hours in preparation for retirement.
The impact of ageing of the workforce may be more immediate for psychiatry than for some other health professions. With the growing proportion of females and their typically lower workforce participation, more than one younger psychiatrist will be required to replace each of the mostly male retirees.
In many countries, health-care labour markets are constantly being challenged by an alternation of shortage and oversupply. Avoiding these cyclic variations is a major challenge. In the Netherlands, a workforce planning model has been used in health care for ten years.
Since 1970, the Dutch government has explored different approaches to determine the inflow in medical schools. In 2000, a simulation model for health workforce planning was developed to estimate the required and available capacity of health professionals in the Netherlands. In this paper, this model is explained, using the Dutch general practitioners as an example. After the different steps in the model are clarified, it is shown how elements can be added to arrive at different versions of the model, or ‘scenarios’. A comparison is made of the results of different scenarios for different years. In addition, the subsequent stakeholder decision-making process is considered.
Discussion and evaluation
Discussion of this paper shows that workforce planning in the Netherlands is a complex modelling task, which is sensitive to different developments influencing the balance between supply and demand. It seems plausible that workforce planning has resulted in a balance between supply and demand of general practitioners. Still, it remains important that the modelling process is accepted by the different stakeholders. Besides calculating the balance between supply and demand, there needs to be an agreement between the stakeholders to implement the advised training inflow.
The Dutch simulation model was evaluated using six criteria to be met by models suitable for policy objectives. This model meets these criteria, as it is a comprehensive and parsimonious model that can include all relevant factors.
Over the last decade, health workforce planning in the Netherlands has become an accepted instrument for calculating the required supply of health professionals on a regular basis. One of the strengths of the Dutch model is that it can be used for different types of medical and allied health professionals. A weakness is that the model is not yet fully capable of including substitutions between different medical professions to plan from a skill-mix perspective. Several improvements remain possible.
The need for cancer professionals has never been more urgent than it is today. Reports project serious shortages by 2020 of oncology health care providers. Although many plans have been proposed, no role for prevention has been described. In response, a 2-day symposium was held in 2009 at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to capture the current status of the cancer prevention workforce and begin to identify gaps in the workforce. Five working groups were organized around the following topic areas: (a) health policy and advocacy; (b) translation to the community; (c) integrating cancer prevention into clinical practice; (d) health services infrastructure and economics; and (e) discovery, research, and technology. Along with specific recommendations on these topics, the working groups identified two additional major themes: the difficulty of defining areas within the field (including barriers to communication) and lack of sufficient funding. These interdependent issues synergistically impede progress in preventing cancer; they are explored in detail in this synthesis, and recommendations for actions to address them are presented. Progress in cancer prevention should be a major national and international goal. To achieve this goal, ensuring the health of the workforce in cancer prevention and control is imperative.
Training; Education; Preparation; Evaluation
This article examines issues facing the future health care workforce in Australia in light of factors such as population ageing. It has been argued that population ageing in Australia is affecting the supply of health care professionals as the health workforce ages and at the same time increasing the demand for health care services and the health care workforce.
However, the picture is not that simple. The health workforce market in Australia is influenced by a wide range of factors; on the demand side by increasing levels of income and wealth, emergence of new technologies, changing disease profiles, changing public health priorities and a focus on the prevention of chronic disease. While a strong correlation is observed between age and use of health care services (and thus health care workforce), this is mediated through illness, as typified by the consistent finding of higher health care costs in the months preceding death.
On the supply side, the health workforce is highly influenced by policy drivers; both national policies (eg funded education and training places) and local policies (eg work place-based retention policies). Population ageing and ageing of the health workforce is not a dominant influence. In recent years, the Australian health care workforce has grown in excess of overall workforce growth, despite an ageing health workforce. We also note that current levels of workforce supply compare favourably with many OECD countries. The future of the health workforce will be shaped by a number of complex interacting factors.
Market failure, a key feature of the market for health care services which is also observed in the health care labour market – means that imbalances between demand and supply can develop and persist, and suggests a role for health workforce planning to improve efficiency in the health services sector. Current approaches to health workforce planning, especially on the demand side, tend to be highly simplistic. These include historical allocation methods, such as the personnel-to-population ratios which are essentially circular in their rationale rather than evidence-based. This article highlights the importance of evidence-based demand modelling for those seeking to plan for the future Australian health care workforce. A model based on population health status and best practice protocols for health care is briefly outlined.
Surveys of nursing supplies around the world have furnished a better understanding of the structure of the workforce, helped identify shortages, and plan professional training. This study aimed to examine the employment and workforce characteristics of registered nurses and the projected supply in Israel as a tool for planning.
1. A survey of a national sample of 10% of the RNs of working age (3,200 nurses). 2. Analysis of administrative data from the Ministry of Health' Nursing Division and the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Most registered nurses are employed (89%) - 67% work full time. The workforce is mature (45% are above 45), trained (55% qualified beyond the basic course, 48% hold a BA, 18% hold an MA or PhD), and stable: few quit the profession altogether. The likelihood of "survival" in the profession after 10 years is 93%; after 20 years - 88%. 23% have made some transition in the last 10 years (most - a single transition). Most of the transitions are from hospital to community work. Supply projections show a decrease in the total number of RNs in the nursing workforce from 28,500 in 2008 to 21,201 in 2028 - i.e., of 25% by the end of the period. As for the ratio per 1,000 population, the drop is from 4 registered nurses/1,000 in 2008 to 2/1,000 in 2028.
The study findings provide more rigorous projections of supply than in the past on the declining rates of the nursing workforce in the coming decades, and contribute to decision making about the scope of training and recruitment. The study also points to the implications for policy decisions regarding the findings that the young nursing workforce is less stable, that there are advantages to recruiting a more mature workforce, and that post-basic education is connected with workforce stability.
The number of medical practitioners in the developed world has increased but in relative terms their incomes have decreased. Published comments suggest that some doctors are dissatisfied with what they earn. However doctors are still perceived as having a high status in society. Publicly available data suggests that doctors chose to live and work in affluent suburbs where arguably the need for their skills is less than that in neighbouring deprived areas. The gender balance in medicine is also changing with more women entering the workforce and a greater acceptance of parttime working arrangements. In some countries doctors have relinquished the responsibility for emergency out of hours care in general practice and personal continuity of care is no longer on offer. The profession is also challenged by policy makers’ enthusiasm for guidelines while the focus on multidisciplinary teamwork makes it more likely that patients will routinely be able to consult professionals other than medical practitioners. At the same time the internet has changed patient expectations so that health care providers will be expected to deploy information technology to satisfy patients. Medicine still has a great deal to offer. Information may be readily available on the internet, but it is not an independently sufficient, prerequisite for people to contend with the physical and psychological distress associated with disease and disability. We need to understand and promote the crucial role doctors play in society at a time of tremendous change in the attitudes to, and within, the profession.
Doctors; profession; income; working hours
Hospital restructuring policies and an impending nursing workforce shortage have threatened the nation’s emergency preparedness. Current emergency response plans rely on sources of nurses that are limited and overestimated. A national investment in nursing education and workforce infrastructure, as well as incentives for hospitals to efficiently maximize nurse staffing, are needed to ensure emergency preparedness in the United States. This review highlights the challenges of maintaining hospital nursing surge capacity and policy implications of a nursing shortage.
emergency preparedness; nursing; policy; staffing; surge capacity
Policy that supports rural allied health service delivery is important given the shortage of services outside of Australian metropolitan centres. The shortage of allied health professionals means that rural clinicians work long hours and have little peer or service support. Service delivery to rural and remote communities is further complicated because relatively small numbers of clients are dispersed over large geographic areas. The aim of this five-year multi-stage project is to generate evidence to confirm and develop evidence-based policies and to evaluate their implementation in procedures that allow a regional allied health workforce to more expeditiously respond to disability service need in regional New South Wales, Australia.
The project consists of four inter-related stages that together constitute a full policy cycle. It uses mixed quantitative and qualitative methods, guided by key policy concerns such as: access, complexity, cost, distribution of benefits, timeliness, effectiveness, equity, policy consistency, and community and political acceptability.
Stage 1 adopts a policy analysis approach in which existing relevant policies and related documentation will be collected and reviewed. Policy-makers and senior managers within the region and in central offices will be interviewed about issues that influence policy development and implementation.
Stage 2 uses a mixed methods approach to collecting information from allied health professionals, clients, and carers. Focus groups and interviews will explore issues related to providing and receiving allied health services. Discrete Choice Experiments will elicit staff and client/carer preferences.
Stage 3 synthesises Stage 1 and 2 findings with reference to the key policy issues to develop and implement policies and procedures to establish several innovative regional workforce and service provision projects.
Stage 4 uses mixed methods to monitor and evaluate the implementation and impact of new or adapted policies that arise from the preceding stages.
The project will provide policy makers with research evidence to support consideration of the complex balance between: (i) the equitable allocation of scarce resources; (ii) the intent of current eligibility and prioritisation policies; (iii) workforce constraints (and strengths); and (iv) the most effective, evidence-based clinical practice.
Rural; Remote; Regional; Allied health; Disability; Workforce; Retention; Policy; Service provision; Access
Hawai‘i lacks the number of skilled professionals needed to meet current and future healthcare demands. In order to meet the growing needs of Hawai‘i's residents, the Workforce Development Council, a state agency attached to the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, is looking to expand the primary care workforce 20% by the year 2020. Using funds from a Healthcare Workforce Planning grant, the state formed several Healthcare Industry Skill Panels, a workforce development best practice from the State of Washington, to address the gap in healthcare services and healthcare workforce opportunities for Hawai‘i residents. Over 150 stakeholders—from employers, education, the public workforce system, economic development and labor—contributed their time and expertise to identify current workforce issues and develop action-oriented strategies to close industry skill gaps. So far these Skill Panels have developed a Critical Care Nursing Course Curriculum, a Workforce Readiness Curriculum and Certification pilot project, and a group to address specific barriers that are impeding Certified Nurse Aides (CNA). Upcoming initiatives include the distribution of a comprehensive statewide healthcare workforce development plan entitled Hawai‘i's Healthcare Workforce 20/20 Plan & Report: Addendum to the Comprehensive State Plan for Workforce Development 2009–2014, and the creation of HawaiiHealthCareers.org, a website to both recruit and support individuals interested in pursuing careers in the healthcare industry.
Rural communities throughout Australia are experiencing demographic ageing, increasing burden of chronic diseases, and de-population. Many are struggling to maintain viable health care services due to lack of infrastructure and workforce shortages. Hence, they face significant health disadvantages compared with urban regions. Primary health care yields the best health outcomes in situations characterised by limited resources. However, few rigorous longitudinal evaluations have been conducted to systematise them; assess their transferability; or assess sustainability amidst dynamic health policy environments. This paper describes the study protocol of a comprehensive longitudinal evaluation of a successful primary health care service in a small rural Australian community to assess its performance, sustainability, and responsiveness to changing community needs and health system requirements.
The evaluation framework aims to examine the health service over a six-year period in terms of: (a) Structural domains (health service performance; sustainability; and quality of care); (b) Process domains (health service utilisation and satisfaction); and (c) Outcome domains (health behaviours, health outcomes and community viability). Significant international research guided the development of unambiguous reliable indicators for each domain that can be routinely and unobtrusively collected. Data are to be collected and analysed for trends from a range of sources: audits, community surveys, interviews and focus group discussions.
This iterative evaluation framework and methodology aims to ensure the ongoing monitoring of service activity and health outcomes that allows researchers, providers and administrators to assess the extent to which health service objectives are met; the factors that helped or hindered achievements; what worked or did not work well and why; what aspects of the service could be improved and how; what benefits have been realised and for whom; the level of community satisfaction with the service; and the impact of a health service on community viability. While the need to reduce the rural-urban health service disparity in Australia is pressing, the evidence regarding how to move forward is inadequate. This comprehensive evaluation will add significant new knowledge regarding the characteristics associated with a sustainable rural primary health care service.
Many countries are reporting health workforce shortages across a range of professions at a time of relatively high workforce mobility. Utilising the global market to supply shortage health skills is now a common recruitment strategy in many developed countries. At the same time a number of countries report a 'brain drain' resulting from professional people leaving home to work overseas. Many health and social care professionals make their way to the UK from other countries. This pilot study utilises a novel 'e-survey' approach to explore the motives, experiences and perspectives of non-UK health and social care professionals who were working or had worked in the UK. The study aims to understand the contributions of international health and social care workers to the UK and their 'home' countries. The purpose of the pilot study is also in part to test the appropriateness of this methodology for undertaking a wider study.
A 24-item questionnaire with open-ended and multiple choice questions was circulated via email to 10 contacts who were from a country outside the UK, had trained outside the UK and had email access. These contacts were requested to forward the email to other contacts who met these criteria (and so on). The email was circulated over a one month pilot period to 34 contacts. Responses were from physiotherapists (n = 11), speech therapists (n = 4), social workers (n = 10), an occupational therapist (n = 1), podiatrists (n = 5), and others (n = 3). Participants were from Australia (n = 20), South Africa (n = 10), New Zealand (n = 3) and the Republic of Ireland (n = 1). Motives for relocating to the UK included travel, money and career opportunities. Participants identified a number of advantages and disadvantages of working in the UK compared to working in their home country health system. Respondents generally reported that by working in the UK, they had accumulated skills and knowledge that would allow them to contribute more to their profession and health system on their return home.
This pilot study highlights a range of issues and future research questions for international learning and comparison for the health and social care professions as a result of international workforce mobility. The study also highlights the usefulness of an e-survey technique for capturing information from a geographically diverse and mobile group of professionals.
Introduction. Contemporary health policy promotes delivery of community-based health services to people with musculoskeletal conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This emphasis requires a skilled workforce to deliver safe, effective care. We aimed to explore physiotherapy workforce readiness to co-manage consumers with RA by determining the RA-specific professional development (PD) needs in relation to work and educational characteristics of physiotherapists in Western Australia (WA). Methods. An e-survey was sent to physiotherapists regarding their confidence in co-managing people with RA and their PD needs. Data including years of clinical experience, current RA clinical caseload, professional qualifications, and primary clinical area of practice were collected. Results. 273 physiotherapists completed the survey. Overall confidence in managing people with RA was low (22.7–58.2%) and need for PD was high (45.1–95.2%). Physiotherapists with greater years of clinical experience, a caseload of consumers with RA, postgraduate qualifications in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, or who worked in the musculoskeletal area were more confident in managing people with RA and less likely to need PD. Online and face-to-face formats were preferred modes of PD delivery. Discussion. To enable community-based RA service delivery to be effectively established, subgroups within the current physiotherapy workforce require upskilling in the evidence-based management of consumers with RA.
Health workforce projections are important instruments to prevent imbalances in the health workforce. For both the tenability and further development of these projections, it is important to evaluate the accuracy of workforce projections. In the Netherlands, health workforce projections have been done since 2000 to support health workforce planning. What is the accuracy of the techniques of these Dutch general practitioner workforce projections?
We backtested the workforce projection model by comparing the ex-post projected number of general practitioners with the observed number of general practitioners between 1998 and 2011. Averages of historical data were used for all elements except for inflow in training. As the required training inflow is the key result of the workforce planning model, and has actually determined past adjustments of training inflow, the accuracy of the model was backtested using the observed training inflow and not an average of historical data to avoid the interference of past policy decisions. The accuracy of projections with different lengths of projection horizon and base period (on which the projections are based) was tested.
The workforce projection model underestimated the number of active Dutch general practitioners in most years. The mean absolute percentage errors range from 1.9% to 14.9%, with the projections being more accurate in more recent years. Furthermore, projections with a shorter projection horizon have a higher accuracy than those with a longer horizon. Unexpectedly, projections with a shorter base period have a higher accuracy than those with a longer base period.
According to the results of the present study, forecasting the size of the future workforce did not become more difficult between 1998 and 2011, as we originally expected. Furthermore, the projections with a short projection horizon and a short base period are more accurate than projections with a longer projection horizon and base period. We can carefully conclude that health workforce projections can be made with data based on relatively short base periods, although detailed data are still required to monitor and evaluate the health workforce.
Health workforce; Projections; Evaluation; Accuracy
Thailand is one of the developing countries encountering medical workforce shortage. From the national registry in 2006, there were 33 166 physicians: 41.5% worked in the government sector, 21.6% worked in the private sector, and the remaining worked in non-medical fields. There is no current data to confirm the effectiveness of the national policy to increase physician production. We demonstrate our findings from the strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) analysis in medical students and the potential impact on national workforce planning.
We introduced SWOT analysis to 568 medical students during the 2008–2010 academic years, with the objective of becoming “a good physician in the future”.
Pertinent issues were grouped into 4 categories: not wanting to be a doctor, having inadequate medical professional skills, not wanting to work in rural or community areas, and planning to pursue training in specialties with high salary/low workload/low risk for lawsuit. The percentages of medical students who described themselves as “do not want to be a doctor” and “do not want to work in rural or community areas” increased from 7.07% and 25.00% in 2008 to 12.56% and 29.65% in 2010, respectively.
Further intervention should be considered in order to change the medical students attitudes on the profession and their impact on Thai health system.
health planning; health systems plans; medical students; manpower
In Canada, workforce shortages in the health care sector constrain the ability of the health care system to meet the needs of its population and of its health care professionals. This issue is of particular importance in peripheral regions of Quebec, where significant inequalities in workforce distribution between regions has lead to acute nursing shortages and increased workloads. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are innovative solutions that can be used to develop strategies to optimise the use of available resources and to design new nursing work practices. However, current knowledge is still limited about the real impact of ICTs on nursing recruitment and retention. Our aim is to better understand how work practice reorganization, supported by ICTs, and particularly by telehealth, may influence professional, educational, and organizational factors relating to Quebec nurses, notably those working in peripheral regions.
First, we will conduct a descriptive study on the issue of nursing recruitment. Stratified sampling will be used to select approximately twenty innovative projects relating to the reorganization of work practices based upon ICTs. Semi-structured interviews with key informants will determine professional, educational, and organizational recruitment factors. The results will be used to create a questionnaire which, using a convenience sampling method, will be mailed to 600 third year students and recent graduates of two Quebec university nursing faculties. Descriptive, correlation, and hierarchical regression analyses will be performed to identify factors influencing nursing graduates' intentions to practice in peripheral regions. Secondly, we will conduct five case studies pertaining to the issue of nursing retention. Five ICT projects in semi-urban, rural, and isolated regions have been identified. Qualitative data will be collected through field observation and approximately fifty semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders.
Data from both parts of this research project will be jointly analysed using triangulation of researchers, theoretical approaches, methods, and results. Continuous exchanges with decision makers and periodic knowledge transfer activities are planned to facilitate the dissemination and utilization of research results in policies regarding the nursing recruitment and retention.