(24 February 2023) On 23 February 2023 health and social care unions representatives met for the first time this year at the Standing Committee of Health and Social Services. 50 participants, including external speakers, discussed developments in the health and care sector taking place since the previous meeting in October last year. These include the EU Commission’s proposal on strengthening social dialogue, the European Health Data Space and The European Year of Skills. Following the discussion on the European Health Data Space it was decided to propose amendments to the European Parliament Report to ensure, among other thing, protection of health data from privatisation.
Committee members discussed the priorities of topics for action by the Committee for the coming year. Amongst other issues, the discussion focussed mainly on Occupational Health and Safety (with the topics of Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and Psychosocial Risks Factors included), as well as skills (given that 2023 is the European year of skills) and finally staff shortages and retention of the workforce within the concept of making the sector more attractive.
With great interest members listen to the presentation of Prof Roland Erne from the University College Dublin on Growing Competences of the EU in health care and how the EU could contribute to addressing staff shortages. The presentation and a discussion were very much related to the demands expressed during the European health and care workers protest on the 9 December last year at the occasion of the health minister meeting.
Participants commemorated the victims of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria with a minute of silence and the Committee expressed its solidarity with the unions from Turkey in supporting the victims (see the photo).
In addition, the Committee expressed its solidarity with French workers who are protesting the proposed pension reform, and Dutch and British health workers who are in the process of industrial actions.
Finally, members were informed by the representative of PSI on the current work on the WHO pandemic treaty. PSI and EPSU representatives are actively participating in the preparation of this.