Health policies and data

Health Workforce


Health Workforce - web image

The OECD advises countries on how to meet future demand for health professionals and how to manage the supply of health workers, by reviewing policies related to education and training, continuous professional development, geographic distribution and immigration. 
The OECD also assesses changes in the scope of practice of health care providers, and the impact that these changes might have on access, quality and efficiency in health service delivery.


Key REPORTS on health workforce


Recent Trends in International Migration of Doctors, Nurses and Medical Students

Released 25 July 2019

This report describes recent trends in the international migration of doctors and nurses in OECD countries. Over the past decade, the number of doctors and nurses has increased in many OECD countries, and foreign-born and foreign-trained doctors and nurses have contributed to a significant extent. New in-depth analysis of the internationalisation of medical education shows that in some countries (e.g. Israel, Norway, Sweden and the United States) a large and growing number of foreign-trained doctors are people born in these countries who obtained their first medical degree abroad before coming back. The report includes four case studies on the internationalisation of medical education in Europe (France, Ireland, Poland and Romania) as well as a case study on the integration of foreign-trained doctors in Canada.  

Health workforce policies in OECD countries

Health Workforce Policies in OECD Countries - Right Jobs, Right Skills, Right Places

Released 15 March 2016

Health workers are the cornerstone of health systems, playing a central role in providing health services to the population and improving health outcomes. The demand and supply of health workers have increased over time in all OECD countries, with jobs in the health and social sector accounting for more than 10% of total employment now in several OECD countries. This publication reviews key trends and policy priorities on health workforce across OECD countries, with a particular focus on doctors and nurses given the preeminent role that they have traditionally played in health service delivery.



Data on Health Workforce

Health at a Glance 2019 - OECD Indicators

Health workforce chapter in Health at a Glance 2019 - OECD Indicators:

Health at a Glance - Europe 2018

Health workforce data in Health at a Glance: Europe 2018 - State of Health in the EU Cycle:

Health at a Glance - Asia/Pacific 2016

Health workforce data in Health at a Glance - Asia/Pacific 2016:

For more data on health workforce, go to the dataset on Health Care Resources in OECD.Stat.



Working for Health is a joint programme of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a strategic, intersectoral, multi-stakeholder programme that leverages the convening power and mandates of the United Nations and the OECD, its rights-based approaches and standards, and the expertise, resources and support from its diverse constituents and partners to expand and transform the health and social workforce. 
We work hand in hand with governments, the private sector, civil society, academia, education and training providers, employers, professional associations, regulators, and trade unions.
Further details on the Working for Health programme are available in the brochure and on the Working for Health website.

May 2018 - OECD, in partnership with ILO and WHO, establishes UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund to drive forward recommendations from the Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth

The three organisations signed a memorandum of understanding on 23 May 2018 to establish a United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF). The fund enables partners to pool resources and drive implementation of the action plan.

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September 2016 - United Nations Secretary-General High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth: Final report and recommendations presented at the margins of the UN General Assembly

In March 2016, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon officially established a High-level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. The Commission was co-chaired by Mr François Hollande, President of France, and Mr Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, and co-vice-chaired by Dr. Margaret Chan (WHO), Mr. Guy Ryder (ILO) and Mr. Angel Gurría (OECD). 

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