Monday, December 22, 2008

The European Commission adopted a Green Paper on the EU workforce for health

Commission launches a public consultation on the future of Europe's workforce for health.The European Commission adopted a green paper on the EU workforce for health. This marks the beginning of a consultation period which aims to identify common responses to the many challenges facing the health workforce in Europe.

There are a number of challenges facing health systems in Europe. People are living longer, new technology is making it possible to increase the range and quality of, often, expensive treatments. There are new and re-emerging threats to health eg from communicable diseases and citizens have ever-rising expectations about having access to the best possible healthcare.

Developing effective and efficient health systems able to respond to the challenges they face depends to a considerable extent on having a high-quality health workforce of sufficient capacity and with the right skills, and for the European Union that means throughout the Member States.

In light of the fact that Member States are facing a number of common problems with their health workforces, there is much to be gained by promoting cooperation and common approaches between the Member States. The European Community can add value by supporting this.

The aim of the Green Paper is to increase the visibility of these issues, to generate a clearer picture of the extent to which local and/or national health managers face the same challenges and to engage stakeholders in the debate so as to help those responsible across Europe to address these problems effectively.

The public consultation process sets out to obtain stakeholders' views on a wide range of issues connected with the healthcare workforce and preparing for the care of an ageing population. The results of the consultation will feed in to our consideration of what the EU can do to support Member States in tackling these challenges.