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Medical Workforce Planning

In 2013 NDTP incorporated medical workforce planning (MWP) into its remit, with a view to bringing the number of doctors in postgraduate medical training programmes in line with expert informed estimates of the future demand for specialists in the health service, and, to inform the consultant appointments process. MWP within NDTP considers the needs of service delivery across both the public and privately funded healthcare systems.

What is Medical Workforce Planning?

Within NDTP, Medical workforce planning addresses future projections for the appropriate staffing of the medical workforce. This involves analysis of the supply of specialists into the medical workforce today and analysis of whether or not that supply is appropriately matched to the demand for specialist health services and patient need. It also involves the analysis of how supply should be planned for in light of future population, societal and health service change.

On-going Work in the Area of Medical Workforce Planning

  • NDTP in collaboration with relevant stakeholders has developed a report entitled ‘Demand for Medical Consultants and Specialists and the Training Pipeline to Meet Demand: a high level stakeholder informed analysis’. This report was developed with a view to providing evidence around the current and future demand for consultant/specialist doctors across medical specialties in Ireland, in order to inform postgraduate medical training and consultant appointment requirements for the country to 2028. It also presents useful evidence to inform strategic actions to address recruitment and retention issues across the consultant and NCHD workforce and will be of use to doctors planning their careers and wishing to anticipate future opportunities. The overall findings of this report infer that, across the health system as a whole, there is a need for a considerable increase in the numbers of medical consultants/ specialists and trainees. Please note this report was prepared prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is available here.
  • Work has been on-going in the development of specialty-specific, in-depth, MWP reports to estimate the future demand for medical specialists in the Irish health service. The first such report focused on the demand for GPs over the next 10 years and was published in September 2015. A number of other such reports are in development currently. In 2016, NDTP developed Medical Workforce Planning Ireland: A Stepwise Approach. The methodology adopted within this guide, the first of its kind in Ireland, can be used to predict the medical workforce requirements over a defined projection period, typically 10 years.


  • Currently, NDTP is developing a suite of medical workforce specialty reviews, specific to each area of medicine in Ireland. These reviews outline the current speciality service delivery model, the configuration of the medical workforce, future drivers of change to that workforce as well as planned models of care, among other things. High-level recommendations related to future demand for the specialty, as informed by stakeholders, are included in these reviews.


These reviews represent an update on the original report ‘Population Based Ratios of Specialists in Ireland and Internationally: An Information Source to Support Medical Workforce Planning’, published by NDTP in 2014.