Towards Strategic Health Workforce Planning - Experiences from the Joint Action of European Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting Project
12 EU country practices were analyzed and several aspects of the HWFP complex picture was examined in the frames of the “Joint Action of European Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting” project, in order to have a clear understanding of the operation and gaps of different HWFP systems, data and processes.
The results showed that the main elements, essential steps that highly influence comprehensive HWFP are: the extended attention and awareness of the topic, setting up goals and commitment to them, incorporating the experiences of longstanding traditions, the dedicated group - high level stakeholder involvement, proper communication flow, support of online platforms and IT solutions, clarity of the real environment analysis and current country situation, excellent data coverage and quantitative models, easy data source linking, mostly individual but anonymous datasets, implementation linked to policy actions, and evaluation and maintenance of established systems. Based on the practices of different EU countries we might experience different levels and actions taken in the HWFP development continuum, where experiences from countries having more advanced HWFP systems could support countries with less systematic HWFP to incorporate significant aspects.
The planning intentions, strategic design, implementation and assessment are considered to be crucial in health workforce policy and later on, in practice. Strategic approach often needs to be improved by continuous measurement and monitoring; revision and evaluation of efficiency-effectiveness of formerly set targets, mechanisms to achieve the desired result; and incorporating the benefits of qualitative methods to interpret and fine-tune quantitative planning.