Aims: To estimate current and future specialist neurologist demand and supply to assist with health sector planning.
Methods: Current demand for the neurology workforce in New Zealand was assessed using neuroepidemiological data. To assess current supply, all New Zealand neurology departments were surveyed to determine current workforce and estimate average neurologist productivity. Projections were made based on current neurologists anticipated retirement rates and addition of new neurologists based on current training positions. We explored several models to address the supply-demand gap.
Results: The current supply of neurologists in New Zealand is 36 full-time equivalents (FTE), insufficient to meet current demand of 74 FTE. Demand will grow over time and if status quo is maintained the gap will widen.
Conclusions: Pressures on healthcare dollars are ever increasing and we cannot expect to address the identified service gap by immediately doubling the number of neurologists. Instead we propose a 12-year strategic approach with investments to enhance service productivity, strengthen collaborative efforts between specialists and general service providers, moderately increase the number of neurologists and neurology training positions, and develop highly skilled non-specialists including trained.