Social Dialogue and Staff Shortages on the agenda of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee in the Hospital and Health Sector

Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee - Hospitals/Health - Working Group 1, Brussels, 10 March 2023

(17 March 2023) On 10 March European Social Partners in the Hospital and Health Sector (EPSU and HOSPEEM) met fully  in person only for the first time since the pandemic to discuss recent developments in the sector.   Almost 40 participants from EU and non EU countries, including Norway and the UK, exchanged information and views on the situation of workers and employers in their countries and on the European level.

The most discussed topics were the Commission Communication on the Social Dialogue followed  by State of Play on Staff Shortages & Measures on the background of the Social Partners in hospital and healthcare signed framework for the future of the sector | EPSU.

In their statements on the first subject Social Partners underlined the importance of the sustainable financing and support from the commission to this essential sectoral social dialogue by, among other things, highlighting its contribution to not only influencing employment conditions within the sector itself,  but also its direct involvement in development  the EU law. For instance  the EPSU and HOSPEEM agreement on the sharp injuries was transferred in 2010 into  Directive 2010/32/EU - prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector.

Discussion on staff shortages and measures was introduced by presentations from Christophe Spegele a representative of DG SANTE and Matthias Wismar, from the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. The latter’s presentation was based on the WHO “Health and care workforce in Europe: Time to Act” report. It is worth mentioning that DG SANTE has commissioned a significant number of research projects aiming at improving staffing levels in the EU.

Zoi Mylona, BeWell Project Manager, European Health Management Association, informed participants about the BeWell project, of which HOSPEEM and EPSU are associated partners, and about its Partnership Manifesto: PACT FOR SKILLS: Large Scale Partnership for the Health Ecosystem.

The last part of the meeting was dedicated the outcomes of the Third-Party Violence conference that was held in November last year in Madrid followed by an initial discussion on implementation of its Action Plan.

Among other topics that participants were updated on, were:

a. Technical Seminar on Skills and Digitalisation, 30 November 2022;

b. Negotiations on the Joint Policy Orientation;

c. Presentation of the project: the EU Joint Action “Health Workforce to Meet Health Challenges” (HEROES) which aims to improve the health workforce planning and governance capacities of the European Countries;

d. European Health Data Space the stand of the legislative procedure in the EU Parliament.