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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 36 (1994) 3

New research

Prognoses on psychiatrists

G.J.M. Hutschemaekers

This article focusses on the job market position of psychiatrists. In 1982 Schnabel foresaw a considerable surplus of psychiatrists. In 1987, however, there turned out to be a big shortage. That was because Schnabel had not reckoned with a less increasing supply, which was due to general tendencies on the labour market (a shorter working week and early retirements). After 1987 the shortage grew as a result of a growing demand, caused among other things by the changing position of the psychiatrist in society. But more salient was the relation found between availability of and demand for psychiatrists: the shortage of psychiatrists within institutions increased faster, as the number of psychiatrists became larger. The differences between twe two forecasts (1993-1997) proved to have their origin in the extent to which this market force had been taken into account. Without the influence the shortage was estimated at 450 psychiatrists in 1997, but with the influence at 165.

It is suggested to let the demand for psychiatrists be governed less by market mechanisms and more by arguments about the psychiatrists' core tasks. The discussion should for the greater part deal with the question to what extent psychotherapy is to be rated among these core tasks.