University of Minnesota

World Medical Association, Resolution on the Medical Workforce (1998).


Adopted by the 50th World Medical Assembly
Ottawa, Canada, October 1998


1. The WMA hereby resolves that the production of medical doctors must be carefully planned with a long-term view.
2. In order to achieve this objective, representatives of the medical profession must possess a clear overview of the medical workforce situation, including
  • the existing number of doctors
  • the age distribution and retirement trends of the existing medical population
  • the estimated future need for doctors
  • the capacity of the physician education system
  • the possible migration trends
  • the pattern of physician specialization and sub-specialization
  • the appropriate role of non-physician health care providers


The training of a fully competent medical specialist, from start to completion, takes a considerable duration of time, and medical workforce planning must reflect this fact. Corrections in the production and supply of medical personnel cannot be made quickly, but must take into account this time frame.
4. The WMA encourages regional consideration of workforce issues and will seek to convene an international conference at an appropriate time to examine these problems and develop consensus concerning proposed solutions.
5. The WMA will continue its discussion with the WHO and other relevant organizations regarding this topic.

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