Background: In an attempt to devise a simpler computable tool to assist workforce planners in determining what might be an appropriate mix of health service skills, our discussion led us to consider the implications of skill mixing and workforce composition beyond the 'stock and flow' approach of much workforce planning activity.
Methods: Taking a dynamic systems approach, we were able to address the interactions, delays and feedbacks that influence the balance between the major components of health and health care.
Results: We linked clinical workforce requirements to clinical workforce workload, taking into account the requisite facilities, technologies, other material resources and their funding to support clinical care microsystems; gave recognition to productivity and quality issues; took cognisance of policies, governance and power concerns in the establishment and operation of the health care system; and, going back to the individual, gave due attention to personal behaviour and biology within the socio-political family environment.
Conclusion: We have produced the broad endogenous systems model of health and health care which will enable human resource planners to operate within real world variables. We are now considering the development of simple, computable national versions of this model.