The health workforce is the "elephant in the room" at health policy tables -- a large, pervasive issue that unfortunately often goes unaddressed. The health workforce is a pillar of the health system and so like the foundation of our homes, it can sometimes go unnoticed. But if we plan on reforming services (i.e., renovating our home), we are going to have to attend to whether the health workforce foundation can support the changes.
Why do we not dedicate even a fraction of what we put into actually paying our health workers for their services into coordinated planning for those services? We don't just need another short term task force to manage health worker supply. We need effective management of our entire health workforce on an ongoing basis.
Part of the cause is that Canada was one of a handful of countries (and the only Western industrialized nation) not to have any provisions for midwifery care prior to 1993. In the last 20 years, there has been growth in the profession, but only modest.
The premiers recently announced the creation of a working group on health care innovation to examine three critical issues related to the health workforce. It will take more than an observatory to kick start real progress in the three areas identified by the premiers. Soap operas are "sticky" for a reason.