EESC opinion: European workforce for health

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EESC opinion: European workforce for health

Key points

Committee's comments and recommendations

  • The EESC welcomes the publication by the European Commission of the Green Paper on the European workforce for health. Demographic change and its impact on the workforce and workload in the healthcare sector are described by the Green Paper.
  • The EESC feels that measures should be taken to make jobs in the health care sector more attractive to young people, so that, later on, more of them take up jobs in the sector.
  • The Committee recommends that sufficient staffing capacity be created in health care systems to meet health care needs, boost health care, health promotion and disease prevention.
  • The Committee believes that the undesired emigration of healthcare personnel to other countries can be countered by higher pay and better working conditions and, where applicable, new responsibilities. New responsibilities require the appropriate qualifications. This would also enhance the attractiveness of the sector generally.
  • The use of new technologies in healthcare is to be encouraged where these reduce the workload of healthcare staff, improve the quality of care and support patients. The EESC is aware that this may lead to a re-examination of how the division of tasks among health care staff works in practice.
  • The EESC underscores the key role of social standards in ensuring a high quality of patient care and patient safety, and is unequivocally opposed to any attempt to undermine these (no race to the bottom).
  • The EESC stresses the outstanding role the social partners and social dialogue play in determining pay, working conditions and skills for healthcare workers.