Facing severe under-funding and significant workforce maldistribution, the health system in Romania is challenged to provide adequate care for the ageing population. The aim of this article is to connect health labour market data of the geriatrics workforce in Romania with individual perceptions of front-line workers in geriatrics in order to better understand the ‘human’ factors of effective health workforce development. Comprehensive health workforce data are not available; we therefore used a rapid scoping review and interviews to combine quantitative and qualitative data sources, such as the ‘Healthcare Facility Activity Report’, policy documents and available reports. They show that despite a consistent increase in the overall number of geriatricians, their majority is based in Bucharest, the capital city. The initial review points to possible geriatrician burnout, caused in part by high workload. The geriatrics workforce in Romania is poorly developed. Significant efforts are still needed to create policies addressing inflows and outflows, training, maldistribution and inefficiencies related to their practice. Addressing burnout by improving teamwork and collaboration is vital for maintaining and improving the workforce morale and motivation. Two major policy recommendations emerged: an urgent need for better health workforce data in Romania and development of more effective workforce management.© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association.