The potential impact of the next influenza pandemic on a national primary care medical workforce
Springer Science and Business Media LLC -- Human Resources for Health
DOI 10.1186/1478-4491-3-7


Another 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.


The 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).


At 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%).


Preparedness 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.