Health policies and data

Health Workforce


Health workers are crucial for ensuring access to high-quality care. The work of the OECD examines trends and priorities in health workforce policy in OECD countries.

Current projects analyse different aspects of health workforce policy, including how countries can improve their health workforce planning, what policymakers can do to ensure that doctors practice where they are most needed, whether health workers put their skills to effective use in their jobs, and analyse recent trends in health worker migration.

Recent publications

Health Workforce Migration

- International Migration Outlook 2015, Chapter 3 on Changing patterns in the international migration of doctors and nurses to OECD countries

Health Workforce Planning 

- Health Workforce Planning in OECD Countries: A Review of 26 Projection Models from 18 Countries, Working Paper No. 62 (June 2013). Tomoko Ono, Gaetan Lafortune, Michael Schoenstein

Geographic imbalances in doctor supply

- Geographic Imbalances in Doctor Supply and Policy Responses, Working Paper No. 69 (April 2014). Tomoko Ono, Michael Schoenstein, James Buchan

Remunerations and wage-setting:

Wage-setting in the Hospital Sector, Working Paper No. 77 (September 2014). James Buchan, Ankit Kumar, Michael Schoenstein
The Impact of Pay Increases on Nurses' Labour Market: A Review of Evidence from Four OECD Countries, Working Paper No. 57 (August 2011). James Buchan and Steven Black
The Remuneration of General Practitioners and Specialists in 14 OECD Countries: What are the Factors Influencing Variations across Countries?, Working Paper No. 41 (December 2008). Rie Fujisawa and Gaetan Lafortune

Scope and practice (skills mix)

Nurses in Advanced Roles: A Description and Evaluation of Experiences in 12 Developed Countries, Working Paper No. 54 (July 2010). Marie-Laure Delamaire and Gaetan Lafortune
Also available in French: Les Pratiques Infirmières Avancées : Une Description et Évaluation des Expériences dans 12 Pays Développés.

Key data

Health workforce chapter in Health at a Glance 2015 - OECD Indicators:

Health workforce data in Health at a Glance: Europe 2014:

Health workforce data in Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2014:

Selected presentations

Former projects on health workforce and migration 


Policy Brief on the International Migration of Health Workforce (OECD/WHO 2010)

This joint OECD/WHO Policy Brief provides new insights on recent migration trends for doctors and nurses and discusses the main causes and consequences for destination and origin countries. Possible policy responses stressing the importance of improved international co-operation to address the global health workforce crisis are presented along with recent data.

Accès à la version française du document.

Latest data on Migrant Health Workforce:


The Looming Crisis in the Health Workforce

Click on the cover for a free preview

ISBN: 978-92-64-05043-3
Publication date: October 2008

The looming crisis in the health workforce: How can OECD countries respond?
(OECD, 2008)

Introduction | Table of contents | How to obtain this publication

OECD countries face a challenge in responding to the growing demand for doctors and nurses over the next 20 years. This challenge arises in a world which is already characterised by significant international migration of health workers, both across OECD countries and between some developing countries and the OECD area.

What combination of human-resource management policies and migration policies is adopted by OECD countries? How do migration and other health workforce policies interact with each other? How can destination countries build a sustainable health workforce? What are the consequences of emigration of doctors and nurses for origin countries?


I‌nternational Migration Outlook
(OECD, 2007)

Special chapter: Immigrant Health Workers in OECD Countries in the Broader Context of Highly Skilled Migration

This chapter presents a comprehensive and relevant picture of immigrants in the health sector in OECD countries, in order to better inform the policy dialogue at national and international levels. Section one refers to different sources of data to qualify the nature and the scope of international migration of doctors and nurses in OECD countries and deals with the main issues at stake for origin countries. Section two provides an evaluation of the most recent trends and section three reviews migration policies of OECD member countries related to health professionals. The conclusion summarises the main findings and identifies the opportunities and challenges for origin and receiving countries.



Health Workforce Migration Data

Country case studies (OECD Health Working Papers)

Earlier OECD studies on health workforce

Other websites



Gaetan Lafortune:

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