To the European parliament: now more than ever, healthcare workers need your support

HEALTH action week EPSU logo

(26 October 2020) Today EPSU sent a letter to all Members of the European Parliament asking for their support in our fight for health and care beyond the pandemic.

From the 27th to the 30th of October, health and care workers from all over Europe will mobilise, organise activities and present their proposals for the future of health and care.

With the second wave of the pandemic beginning even before winter has started, health and care services are once again under massive strain, and the structural problems confronting healthcare systems all over Europe are exposed. Hospitals and care workers in several European countries lack adequate health and safety measures and the personal protective equipment  needed to respond to this new rise in infections. Many workers are also still feeling exhausted and stressed after having dealt with the first wave.

For several years now, EPSU, together with many other organisations, has raised concerns about the shortage of one million health professionals in the EU, and this figure is closer to two million if all jobs in health and social care are taken into account. The forecasts predict a shortage of 600,000 workers in nursing alone by 2020, plus 230,000 doctors. These shortages, along with years of underinvestment and a deterioration of working conditions  are now the biggest obstacles to the resilience of our healthcare systems and to an effective fight against the virus.

For this reason we are mobilising. We urgently need deep reforms of healthcare at national level and we need a European Union that is able to support such efforts, involving those who are working every day to ensure quality healthcare for millions of citizens across Europe.

We need your support at this crucial  moment, in particular to keep up the pressure on member states to increase investment in health and care. In the coming months, you will be called to contribute to the design and implementation of the nextGenEU  as well as to discuss the proposal to enhance the role of the EU in health. We consider these to be key elements in the struggle to transform and invest in public health and social care for the long term.

We ask the EU to contribute to increasing the safety and preparedness of workers. Funding needs to be restored for the EU4health programme to at least EUR 9 billion, and government budgets must respond to the needs of our health and social care systems in all member states.

On the EPSU website you can find a full list of actions as well as the mobilisation appeal attached to this letter. Your support for the week of action is very important to us and we ask you

  • to take a picture during the week with the logo of the week
  • to post it on your media with the following hashtag: #EU4health4all

Nurses, doctors, healthcare assistants, elderly and home care and other frontline workers are mobilising, and this time, applause will not be enough.

We thank you in advance for your support and we remain at your disposal to discuss and to further reflect on what we can do together to improve the future of healthcare in Europe.