The Looming Crisis in the Health Workforce

How Can OECD Countries Respond?

image of The Looming Crisis in the Health Workforce

In a world which is already characterised by significant international migration of health workers, OECD countries face a challenge in responding to the growing demand for doctors and nurses over the next 20 years. This book provides new information on the migration of health workers and migration policies and identifies possible ways forward. It is the main outcome of a joint OECD-WHO project on the management of health-related human resources and international migration.

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The Way Forward

It has been reported that many OECD countries are facing potential shortages of health workers over the next 20 years. The demand for health workers is expected to increase because of rising incomes, continuing technological change in medicine and the ageing of OECD populations. The stock of health workers will fall, as the “baby boom” generation is beginning to reach retirement age. Individual OECD countries will face four main options to close the prospective gap between the demand for and supply of health workers over the next two decades. These are: to train more staff at home; to improve the retention and delay the retirement of existing OECD health workers; to raise productivity of existing health workers; and to recruit health workers internationally from other OECD countries or from outside the OECD area.

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