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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2012;156(31):A4529.

[Public healthcare occupations--insight into size and composition is limited].

[Article in Dutch]

Author information

Academisch Medisch Centrum/Universiteit van Amsterdam, afd. Sociale Geneeskunde, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



To gain insight into the size and composition of the various groups of professionals operating in the Dutch public health sector in order to steer development within these groups and to improve quality and efficiency in public healthcare.


Document analysis.


Analysis of data from 7 reports published between 2003 and 2010, focussing on descriptions of working fields, (definitions of) professions and roles and total numbers.


By combining the data from 7 reports, we were able to estimate that the total size of all professional groups operating in the public healthcare sector is 12,000 FTE. This is an imprecise estimation because delimitation of the workforce, the occupations and roles selected and data collection methods used during the analyses was not all the same. Per analysis, the delimitation of the working fields ranged, for example, from all municipal health services to a broad selection of facilities and organisations. The roles included varied from 1 to more than 15. The only professionals for whom we could make use of data from a database for compulsory registration were the specialists in social medicine.


Despite 7 reports in 7 years, we still have insufficient insight into the size and composition of the public health workforce in the Netherlands. Whether or not current capacity is sufficient in relation to the desired levels of quality and efficiency, or will be in the future, is therefore unevaluable.

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