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Health workforce planning in Europe: creating learning country clusters.

Batenburg, R. Health workforce planning in Europe: creating learning country clusters. Health Policy: 2015, 119(12), 1537-1544
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In this article, the different dimensions and determinants of health workforce planning (HWF) are investigated to improve context-sensitivity and mutual learning among groups of countries with similar HWF characteristics. A novel approach to scoring countries according to their HFW characteristics and type of planning is introduced using data collected in 2012 by a large European Union project involving 35 European countries (the ‘Matrix Study’ [8]). HWF planning is measured in terms of three major dimensions:
(1) data infrastructure to monitor the capacities and dynamics of health workforces,
(2) the institutions involved in defining and implementing labour market regulations,
(3) the availability of models to estimate supply–demand gaps and to forecast imbalances.

The result shows that the three dimensions of HWF planning are weakly interrelated, indicating that countries invest in HWF in different ways. Determinant analysis shows that countries with larger health labour markets, National Healthcare Service (NHS), mobility, and strong primary health care score higher on HWF planning dimensions than others. Consequently, the results suggest that clustering countries with similar conditions in terms of HWF planning is a way forward towards mutual and contextual learning.