Ten years of health workforce planning in the Netherlands: a tentative evaluation of GP planning as an example

Article published in Human Resources for Health 2012, 10:21 (13 August 2012)

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Authors:
Van Greuningen M, Batenburg RS, Van der Velden LF

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Publication date: 13 August 2012

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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. Case description 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.