Staff costs dominate health services expenditure and ongoing shortages in the availability of health professionals present a real and direct threat to the continued delivery and development of health care services. Incentives, both financial and non-financial, provide one tool that governments and other employer bodies can use to develop and sustain a workforce with the skills and experience to deliver the required care. Financial incentives (wages and conditions, performance-linked payments and others) and nonfinancial incentives (career and professional development, workload management, flexible working arrangements, positive working arrangements and access to benefits and supports) are both discussed. The characteristics of an effective incentive scheme and the development of an incentive package are described.
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