The project aimed to develop, test, and implement a needs-based model to inform national health workforce planning, contributing to the National Medical Workforce Strategy 2019.
The project involved a review of literature and engagement with international and country level experts to identify the latest developments in international approaches to workforce planning. This was followed by extensive national stakeholder consultation (including rural health workforce agencies, professional groups, state and territory departments, education and training organisations) to identify ways in which existing workforce planning models could be enhanced considering the best evidence from international settings. The second phase involved implementing improvements to the demand-based models to improve their sensitivity and performance. The third phase aimed to develop and test a needs-based model. The needs-based approach uses measures of disease burden or other health events to estimate the need for specialist input rather than relying on models based on past and current utilisation.
Several enhancements to the demand-based model were implemented. These enhancements mean that the forecasts take better account of age, clinical conditions and likely activity trends. A framework was developed to enable a needs-based approach to be applied to different specialties. The nature of the needs-based modelling means that there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and bespoke work on each specialty to review appropriate disease or other health event information is required. Specific examples of how the approach can be used was developed for four specialties. Both the demand and needs-based models have been incorporated into a web-based Shiny application. The app includes functionality for visualising and obtaining data on trends and forecasts.