Objective: Although the medical system has expanded considerably over the past two decades in almost all countries, so too has the demand for health care. The radiology specialisation may be an early system indicator, being especially sensitive to changes in supply and demand in both rural and urban environments. The question is whether the new policies of increasing the number of radiologists can be a proper long-term solution for the imbalance of workforce supply and demand or not.
Methods: Using system dynamics modelling, we present our integrated descriptive models for the supply and demand of Australian radiologists to find the actual gap. Followed by this, we pose a prescriptive model for the supply in order to lessen the identified imbalance between supply and demand. Our system dynamics models compare the demand and supply of Australian radiologists over 40 years between 2010 and 2050.
Results: The descriptive model shows that even if the radiology training program grows at a higher rate than the medical training growth rate and its own historical growth, the system will never be able to meet demand. The prescriptive model also indicates that although changing some influential factors (e.g the intake rate) reduces the level of imbalance, the system will still stay unstable during the study period.
Conclusion: We posit that Australia may need to design a new system of radiology provision to meet future demands for high-quality medical radiation services. We also suggest some strategies, such as greater development of radiographers' role, are critical for enabling sustainable change over time.