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Addressing the challenges of the healthcare workforce: Ensuring the future of health in Europe

Health & healthcare / POLICY BRIEF
Elizabeth Kuiper , Danielle Brady

Date: 23/01/2023
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission unveiled plans for a European Health Union (EHU), which aims to better equip the EU and its member states to protect citizens’ health, combat future pandemics, and improve the resilience of Europe’s health systems. The European healthcare workforce is crucial to attaining each of these targets. For this reason, ensuring a qualified, trained, and skilled health workforce across Europe will be key to the success of several initiatives under the EHU while guaranteeing the functioning of EU health systems and care services.

This Policy Brief identifies the challenges facing the European healthcare workforce and possible solutions. To address the diminishing capacity of Europe’s health workforce, national investment in the health labour force is necessary. The EU and member states must adopt a holistic approach to planning in preparation for changing demographics. In addition, more needs to be done to narrow the skills gap and prepare healthcare workers for the green and digital transition.

However, member state action needs to be complemented by EU-level programmes to reskill and upskill workers. Finally, initiatives to improve the well-being of healthcare professionals must be prioritised and included in the upcoming European Mental Health Strategy.

Read the full paper here.
Photo credits:
Joseph Prezioso/AFP

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