Planning of general practitioners in the Netherlands: a simulation model.

Greuningen, M. van, Batenburg, R.S., Velden, L.F.J. van der. Planning of general practitioners in the Netherlands: a simulation model. European Journal of Public Health: 2010, 20(suppl. 1), p. 147. Abstract. 3rd European Public Health Conference 'Integrated Public Health', 10 - 13 November 2010, Amsterdam.
Manpower planning can be an important instrument to control shortages (or oversupply) within the health care labour market. The Netherlands is one of the countries that have a relative long tradition of manpower planning in health care. In 1973 the government introduced the numerus clausus for the study of medicine. From this moment on, it explored different approaches to plan health manpower. In 2001, a stock and flow model was developed to estimate the required number of General Practioners in training to meet the demand for care in The Netherlands. This model is based on realizing equilibrium in the target year based on assumptions and statistics about the demand and supply side of the health care labour market. At the supply side, trends are modelled for different cohorts of general practitioners (GPs), for example about their working hours. At the demand side, trends in the demand for health care services are projected, based on mostly demographic and epidemiological developments. Demand is basically measured as the total number of GPs needed and the supply as the total number of GPs available. The difference between required and available supply can be translated into an advice regarding the future number of GPs to be trained. Forecasting and planning results are presented in scenarios that vary on basic dimensions as high/low expected demand growth, high/low expected reduction of average working time, high/low expected efficiency gains, resulting in a broad advice on the number of students to be trained. In this presentation we will show how the outcomes of different scenarios relate to the actual inflow of GPs in training. We will also discuss the results of an evaluation of the explanatory power of the planning model, specifically in terms of stock and flow numbers of GPs. (aut. ref.)