A Quantitative Tool for Workforce Planning in Healthcare: Example Simulations – Ireland – June 2009
Report by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit, FÁS on behalf of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs June 2009
“The health sector in Ireland is currently undergoing a period of significant change, both within the sector and its external environment. A range of policy initiatives have been adopted with the aim of re-shaping the delivery of healthcare while at the same time the financial turmoil at home and abroad has adversely affected the financial resources available to Government.
A key step in taking the proposed changes in health service delivery further, within current and future financial constraints, requires the best workforce planning tools possible. In recognition of the fundamental role of workforce planning, the Department of Health and Children and the Health Service Executive requested the assistance of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs in developing a tool that would allow policy makers to make informed decisions in relation to the supply of suitably qualified human resources in the healthcare sector resulting from policy and demographic (e.g. ageing population) changes. The quantitative tool can be re programmed in response to differing circumstances, changing assumptions or adjusted in line with changes in healthcare policy.
The research, conducted by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit at FÁS, developed a quantitative tool that facilitates the assessment of how different policy scenarios and changes in the size and composition of the population – the main determinant of demand for health services – will affect the balance between the supply and demand of a range of healthcare occupations. The research has taken an economy-wide approach and also includes the private healthcare sector. It shows that there are shortfalls facing some occupations, while others are in oversupply. The analysis is based on domestic supply only so as to test the adequacy of the Irish supply system to the replacement needs of the occupations reviewed.
The research findings underscore the continuous nature of workforce planning. This is in line with the OECD and Transforming Public Service agenda. Only by adopting an on-going approach to workforce planning is it possible to optimally address the issues of either skill shortages or excess supply from education and training, as well as issues with an excessive attrition from potential supply and the existing workforce.”