Forecast of Demand and Supply of Health Care Workers in the Context of the Enlarged Europe
This year, the 57th World Health Care Congress adopted a resolution on international migration calling on countries to ameliorate the negative impacts of migration of health care workers, especially in developing countries.
Since losing health care workers to employers abroad reduces availability of health care services and quality, and at the same time is a waste of money the state has invested into their education, this trend has been accompanied by increased interest on the part of Estonia’s health care bosses and politicians toward planning numbers of health care staff. This article provides an overview of a logic scheme that would better forecast demand and supply of health care workers and the extent of training. It also looks at how and to what extent migration should be taken into account in making forecasts. It concludes that if Estonia wants to achieve the numbers of health care workers set as an aim by the social ministry, migration will increase the necessary need for training by around 10%. It also concludes that increasing training is not a suitable way to compensate for migration-related consequences, since the active recruitment operations of other countries in regard to our doctors and nurses will make it difficult to predict the extent of migration. Besides, the effect of training will start to emerge only after many years due to the long training cycle, and by then the situation may already have changed. The article is based on a survey on health care worker migration conducted by the PRAXIS Centre for Policy Studies and commissioned by the social ministry. Results were published in June 2004.