Forecasting the demand of public health professionals at the primary care level at the present and in the next 5 - 10 years in Thailand (2026– 2031)
Keywords:forecast of manpower demand, health necessity, health service needs
Background: An increase in the number and proportion of senior citizens, chronic diseases including mental illnesses and the incidence of emerging diseases cause the medical and public health workforce to increase the workload. This situation demands influences the public demand and expectations to increase the manpower of the health system.
Objectives: This cross-sectional study aimed to analyze and forecast the demand for public health professionals at the primary care level in Thailand in the present and the next 5 to 10 years (2026-2031).
Methods: The data was analyzed by using a Health Needs Method and Health Demand Method; all health services provided were in consideration with promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and other public health services.
Results: The study results forecasted the demand of manpower in the health system using the Health Needs Method at the present (2020), revealed the demand of public health professionals with 7,268 individuals, 5,637 nurses, 3,005 dental personnel and 3,942 physical therapists respectively. The forecasting of the demand for manpower at the present using the health demand method revealed that the demand for public health professionals were 3,386 individuals, 2,431 nurses, 4,862 dental personnel, 66,001 physical therapists and 19,171 Thai traditional-medicine personnel. The health system manpower demand forecast in the next 5-10 years (2026 – 2031) using the Health Demand Method found that the demand of public health professionals will be 7,356 - 7,378 individuals, 5,706 - 5,723 nurses, 3,041 - 3,050 dental personnel and 3,990 - 4,002 physical therapists. However, the forecast of the demand for manpower in the health system at the present using the Health Demand Method for the next 5-10 years (2026 – 2031) indicated the demand of public health professionals will be 3,427 - 3,437 individuals, 2,460 - 2,468 nurses, 4,921 - 4,936 dental personnel, 66,799 - 66,999 physical therapists and 19,403 - 19,461 Thai traditional medicine personnel.
Conclusion: The demand of public health professionals in this study is higher than the standard of the Ministry of Public Health. Therefore, there should be a forecast to support manpower planning to have continuous operations.
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