Medical‐workforce planning: an art or science? The difficult problem of matching supply and demand

Donna Parsons (Communications and Events Officer, based in the NHS Workforce‐Review Team, Winchester, UK)

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Publication date: 20 July 2010



Illustrates how the NHS workforce‐review team looks at the area of medical workforce planning and some of the problems that planners face.


Describes a structure for workforce planning and examines some of the challenges workforce planners and those working in the human‐resources field face.


Argues that workforce planning is more than simply number crunching; it requires the application of both art and science skills.

Practical applications

Demonstrates how the workforce is calculated in terms of the need, demand and supply for the future.

Social implications

Highlights the important advantages, for individual organizations as well as for society as a whole, which can result from successful workforce planning.


Fills a gap in the literature about whether workforce planning is an art or science.



Parsons, D. (2010), "Medical‐workforce planning: an art or science? The difficult problem of matching supply and demand", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 36-38.

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