A heightened awareness about medical manpower issues can be observed in countries that are in a state of political, economic, and social transition. Slovenia entered the transition process in 1989 and became an independent country in 1991. Transition and independence influenced its health care in several ways. It changed the health care system and its financing (by introducing a Bismarckian style of social insurance). It then redistributed power from the Ministry of Health to several stakeholders. A major change occurred in the labor market in health care when the flow of health professionals from the newly independent countries greatly decreased. The decrease was partly due to the consequences of the war in the Balkans and partly due to independent labor legislation in Slovenia. Transitional changes brought new stakeholders to the scene, with a resulting redistribution of responsibilities for health manpower policies and the use of various methodologies.

This policy analysis offers a detailed description of the contextual framework, quantitative data on medical manpower development, and, most important, interviews with representatives of the key stakeholders and study of relevant policy documents.

We conclude that all stakeholders underpin the need for a structured approach toward health manpower planning in the form of a more coherent system of planning, decision making, and control. A compromise on mutual responsibilities between the less dominant Ministry of Health and the two new powerful stakeholders, the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia and the Medical Chamber of Slovenia, seems necessary.

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