Projecting Thailand physician supplies between 2012 and 2030: application of cohort approaches

Article published in Human Resources for Health 2013, 11:3

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Authors:
Rapeepong Suphanchaimat, Thunthita Wisaijohn, Noppakun Thammathacharee and Viroj Tangcharoensathien

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Publication date: 1 February 2013

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This study forecasts physician supply between 2012 and 2030 using cohort analysis, based on future production capacity and losses from the profession, and assesses if, and by when, the projected numbers of physicians would meet the targets of one doctor per 1,500 population, as proposed by the 7th National Conference on Medical Education in 2001, and one per 1,800, proposed by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in 2004. This supply forecast, given various assumptions, would meet the targets outlined above, of one doctor per 1,800 population, and one per 1,500 population, by 2016 and 2020 respectively. However, rapid changes in the contextual environment, e.g. economic demand, physician demographics, and disease burden, may mean that the annual loss rate of 1% used in this projection is not accurate in the future. To ensure population health needs are met, parallel policies on physician production encompassing both qualitative and quantitative aspects should be in place. Improved, up-to-date information and establishment of a physician cohort study are recommended.