(5 May 2011) The mobility of workers has been a central issue in European policy in recent years not only as a result of the discussions regarding freedom of movement for workers from the “new” Member States.
In 2006 the European Public Service Unions (EPSU) and the European Hospital Employers’ Association (HOSPEEM) therefore had commissioned a report to chart the migration profile of the hospital sector workforce in Europe and to identify and analyse initiatives within the hospital sector that have addressed the issues arising from a mobile workforce. Its publication coincided with the formalisation of the EU-level social dialogue in the hospital sector.
An ever increasing level of mobility in the hospital sector brings with it new challenges for both the source and the destination countries.
The report i.a. deals with the impact that migration has on European health systems and the implications for the migrants themselves. The study covers ethical issues related to migration (3.1) and different aspects of difficulties on arrival in the destination country (3.2). It also looks into the implications for social dialogue at different levels and identifies actions in both the destination and source countries (4.).
The report published in May 2006 concluded that "Partnership working and collaboration between employers, employee representatives and stakeholders at national, European and international levels could lead to a common protocol on international recruitment" (p. 29), an objective that could be reached with the adoption of an EPSU- HOSPEEM code of conduct and follow up on Ethical Cross-Border Recruitment and Retention in the Hospital Sector three years later.
The report also covers the aspect of cross-border recognition of professional qualifications (1.3). While the European Commission’s role in health has been traditionally fragmented, the Commission has demonstrated support for the mobility of health care professionals for many years. In 2005 Directive 2005/36/EC on the recogntion of professional qualifications consolidated the existing system of of three general system directives with twelve sectoral directives covering the seven professions of doctor, nurse, dental practitioner, veterinary surgeon, midwife, pharmacist and architect.