Healthcare systems must be responsive to the healthcare needs of the populations they serve. However, typically neither health services nor health workforce planning account for populations' needs for care, resulting in substantial and unnecessary unmet needs. These are further exacerbated during unexpected surges in need, such as pandemics or natural disasters. To illustrate the potential of improved methods to help planning for these types of events, we applied an integrated, needs-based approach to health service and workforce planning in the context of a potential influenza pandemic at the provincial level in Canada. This application provides evidence on the province's capacity to respond to surges in need for healthcare and identifies specific services which may be in short supply in such scenarios. This type of approach can be implemented by planners to address a variety of health issues in different contexts.
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