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The joint action on health workforce planning and forecasting: results of a European programme to improve health workforce policies.

Kroezen, M., Hoegaerden, M. van, Batenburg, R. The joint action on health workforce planning and forecasting: results of a European programme to improve health workforce policies. Health Policy: 2018, 122(2), 87-93
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Background
Health workforce (HWF) planning and forecasting is faced with a number of challenges, most notably a lack of consistent terminology, a lack of data, limited model-, demand-based- and future-based planning, and limited inter-country collaboration.

Aim
The Joint Action on Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting (JAHWF, 2013-2016) aimed to move forward on the HWF planning process and support countries in tackling the key challenges facing the HWF and HWF planning.

Results
This paper synthesizes and discusses the results of the JAHWF. It is shown that the JAHWF has provided important steps towards improved HWF planning and forecasting across Europe, among others through the creation of a minimum data set for HWF planning and the 'Handbook on Health Workforce Planning Methodologies across EU countries'. At the same time, the context-sensitivity of HWF planning was repeatedly noticeable in the application of the tools through pilot- and feasibility studies.

Conclusion
Further investments should be made by all actors involved to support and stimulate countries in their HWF efforts, among others by implementing the tools developed by the JAHWF in diverse national and regional contexts. Simultaneously, investments should be made in evaluation to build a more robust evidence base for HWF planning methods. (aut. ref.)