CED Activities Info 2015/03

Issue 3 – June/July 2015


SECTION 1 - CED Activities

CED Brussels Office

Debate in the European Parliament on the EU Mobility of Health Professionals

On 5 May, CED Senior Policy Officer Sara Roda attended a policy debate in the European Parliament hosted by Nessa Childers MEP (S&D, Ireland) and jointly organised by the Health Workers for All (HW4All) project, the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) and the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA). The participants discussed how the ethical recruitment principles contained in the 2010 WHO Global Code of Practice on the

International Recruitment of Health Personnel are being put into practice in the European (EU) context, where conflicting objectives start appearing: professional mobility is strongly encouraged in the internal market while posing increasing challenges for Member States health systems experiencing significant out-migration and “brain drain”, such as Southern and Central/Eastern European countries.

MEP Nessa Childers highlighted the dilemma between the right to mobility in the internal market and the need for equity in the distribution of health workers.

According to the co-organisers, what also emerged from the debate was that austerity measures are altering the balance between health workforce investments and mobility: new wage imbalances between countries are being shaped and have the potential to further increase shortages of health professionals and their maldistribution in the territory of Member States. This means that Member States have to orient their health workforce planning towards self-sufficiency and the EU cohesion policy can have a role in supporting countries in retaining their health workers, to avoid mounting health inequalities and safeguard universal access to healthcare.

“It is about time for policy-makers to realise that investment in public health systems, and in a sustainable health workforce help advance Europe’s economic recovery,” said Linda Mans, global health advocate at Wemos Foundation and HW4All coordinator. She added that: “The EU, with its Cohesion Policy instruments, should do a better job to help retain health workers in their home countries”.

In a Europe of increased labour mobility, it becomes even more important to safeguard the rights of workers. “Fair and transparent contracting and equal access to training and career development need to be ensured by employers, who should also go to great length to guarantee a safe and healthy work environment,” commented Mathias Maucher, Policy Officer on Health and Social Services at EPSU.

All EU countries must consider how their planning and recruitment practices affect individual decisions both at home and abroad. Both out-migration and reliance on a foreign workforce are indicative of systemic challenges that must be tackled through actions that make working environments more attractive for health workers to stay.

Further information is available here.



For more information contact:
CED Brussels Office
Tel: + 32 2 736 34 29