The potential impact of the next influenza pandemic on a national primary care medical workforceReport as inadecuate

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Human Resources for Health

, 3:7

First Online: 11 August 2005Received: 02 December 2004Accepted: 11 August 2005


BackgroundAnother influenza pandemic is all but inevitable. We estimated its potential impact on the primary care medical workforce in New Zealand, so that planning could mitigate the disruption from the pandemic and similar challenges.

MethodsThe model in the -FluAid- software Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, Atlanta was applied to the New Zealand primary care medical workforce i.e., general practitioners.

ResultsAt its peak week 4 the pandemic would lead to 1.2% to 2.7% loss of medical work time, using conservative baseline assumptions. Most workdays 88% would be lost due to illness, followed by hospitalisation 8%, and then premature death 4%.

Inputs for a -more severe- scenario included greater health effects and time spent caring for sick relatives. For this scenario, 9% of medical workdays would be lost in the peak week, and 3% over a more compressed six-week period of the first pandemic wave. As with the base case, most 64% of lost workdays would be due to illness, followed by caring for others 31%, hospitalisation 4%, and then premature death 1%.

ConclusionPreparedness planning for future influenza pandemics must consider the impact on this medical workforce and incorporate strategies to minimise this impact, including infection control measures, well-designed protocols, and improved health sector surge capacity.

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Author: Nick Wilson - Michael Baker - Peter Crampton - Osman Mansoor



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