(21 October 2021) The unions affiliated to EPSU working on health and social services met online for the 55th Meeting of the Standing Committee on Health and Social Services held on the 19th of October 2021. During the meeting, Maryvonne Nicolle (CFDT – France), president of the Standing Committee on Health and Social Services, gave her final words as a president. Members congratulated Maryvonne for being the president since 2018, and voiced their thanks and appreciation for all her hard work and commitment over the years.
Kirsi Sillanpää, Director of Societal Relations and Development Branch, Tehy, the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals, Finland, was duly elected and took her position as the new president of this Committee.
The election was followed with presentations, first by Maya Matthews, head of the unit Performance of National Health Systems, DG SANTE on the recent EU health policy initiatives. She presented a clear overview of the EU funds for health, in response to COVID-19, and from 2021 to 2027. Among the Crisis Preparedness and Response tools, the EU4Health aims to support Member States to increase their capacities for health workforce planning and forecasting, collecting, and analysing data for health workforce as well as a better use of the data sets and of the financing models. The budget for this is €5.1 billion. The Recovery and Resilience Facility, with a budget of € 723.8 billion, aims at assisting Member States in their health investments and reforms.
Second, Professor Roland Erne and Doctor Sabina Stan presented the increasing EU health competences. The participants discussed with the researchers on the competencies of the EU in health and social care, its levels of responsibility and the legal basis the EU could provide to health care workers’ quality of jobs, pay rise and safe working conditions.
EPSU warmly thanks all the panellists for their rich and highly appreciated contributions to the 55th Standing Committee on HSS.
The Committee identified and adopted three priorities for the work programme for the upcoming year. These are needs-based staffing levels (incl. psychosocial risks and stress and Musculoskeletal Disorders), long-covid and privatisation.
Dana Luetzkendorf from Ver.di (Germany) spoke to the meeting about the recent strikes in the Charité Hospital in Berlin, the biggest hospital in Europe. She outlined their strategies and organisation of events and actions which lead to a successful outcome for the Union.
The findings of the surveys conducted by EPSU on COVID bonus payments and on compulsory vaccination where presented, and highlighted many differences not only across countries, but also within countries themselves.
And finally members discussed the Policy Orientation on Creating a Resilient Hospital Sector after the pandemic and the updated Framework of Action on Recruitment and Retention.