optimizing the primary health care workforce to achieve timely healthcare that meets the population’s needs: Romania’s human resource in primary care
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Department of Public Health, Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania Center for Health Worfkorce Research and Policy, Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania Pandurilor 7 Street, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A912
To contribute to universal health coverage and achieve the highest possible standard of health, health systems can only function with health professionals’ cooperation. The importance of primary care must be reemphasized, the infrastructure must be revitalized, and the delivery of care and payment models must be redesigned. Currently, the maldistribution of health workers in Romania and the unfavorable working circumstances provide significant issues for Romanias health workforce. As a result, more and more people cannot access timely healthcare that meets their needs. This study aims to investigate the Romanian healthcare workforce using the framework for the health labor market.

We triangulated secondary data from policy documents and other pertinent reports with data from the annual report on the Activity of Healthcare Facilities from 2009 to 2021.

The overall number of physicians has grown since 2009, and there’s a trend toward an aging workforce. In 2021, the number of physicians aged 65 and above increased three times compared to 2009 (from 1,386 doctors to 4,306 doctors). In contrast, the proportion of doctors aged 25 to 34 increased 1.6 times in 2021 (from 14,428 doctors in 2009 to 23,454 in 2021). Regarding family medicine, it can be observed that in an interval of 13 years, the number of family doctors not only stagnated but even decreased, varying from 12,735 family physicians in 2009 to 12,430 family physicians in 2021, showing a decrease in the attractiveness of the family medicine specialization. In 2021, the discrepancy between the number of family doctors in urban and rural areas was substantial. Out of the total of 12,430 family physicians throughout the country, 8297 practiced in urban areas, while in the rural areas, their number decreased by half.

Further efforts are needed to improve primary care workforce distribution and planning throughout the country.