Funding from EU4Health and recovery facilities should be directly spent on improving working conditions in health and social care

Funding from EU4Health - EPSU logo

(9 February 2022) On the occasion of the meeting of the European Health ministers in Grenoble, EPSU repeats its demand to improve the working conditions of health and social care workers. The two year long pandemic put enormous pressure on the workers and sectors that were already understaffed, underinvested and under threat of privatisation. These factors resulted in increased stress levels and burn out, which in turn led to many leaving or considering leaving their jobs – consequences particularly visible in the long term care sector. Furthermore, negligence within the long term sector and private care providers – such as Orpea - making care a lucrative profit at the expense of care recipients and workers demonstrated the urgent need to stop the commercialisation and financialisation of the care sector.

Jan Willem Goudriaan, General Secretary, EPSU says “Ministers must ensure that any type of commodification of both care and health stops, and that funds allocated in the European and Member States budgets are spent directly on recruitment and improving working conditions of health and social care workers. This will improve patient care. Recent disputes in health and care, such as in Greece, Slovenia and Czechia, show that workers patience has been exhausted.”

Dr Adam Rogalewski, Policy Officer for Health and Social Services, EPSU adds ”More than ever, we need to ensure that both sectors become an attractive workplace for European workers once again. Measures to eliminate staff shortages and stress caused by psychosocial risks and third-party violence are vital to this. As shown in Germany, social dialogue can provide measures aiming at needs-based staffing level. Making the sector attractive and safe for workers mental health is paramount to making it more resilience for the future.”

Read the position of EPSU’s Standing Committee on Health and Social Services on the lessons learnt from pandemic, available in EN / FR / ES / DE / RU / SV, to learn more.

Read our recent statement on the need for improved working conditions for care and health workers here.

For more info please contact Chloe Kenny, ckenny@epsu.org +32 (0) 494 89 48 80