The European Social Dialogue Committee in Hospitals held a ‘New Skill Needs’ seminar on 16 September 2009. HOSPEEM and EPSU participants exchanged experiences in these three areas (skills mix, workforce planning and leadership).
The seminar was chaired by Kim Ost-Jacobsen of the Danish Nursing Organisation. Concretely, the main decision was to establish a drafting group to explore these issues further and to submit a position paper to the Hospital Social Dialogue Plenary session, scheduled for 8 December 2009.
The Social partners identified that one of the main challenges was to improve the status of healthcare staff by offering clear and attractive career paths for both women and men. It is therefore important to find the right mix of skills in order to free up more staff time for the treatment of patients. Potential avenues to practically apply this include: proper identification of new skill, identifying and addressing where skill shortages (and over-capacity), occur, and outlining clear leadership ‘paths’ to ensure retention of highly qualified staff.
Background: At the Plenary meeting on 4 December 2008, EPSU and HOSPEEM decided to develop a social dialogue instrument either in the form of a framework of actions or guidelines. The instrument should cover skills mix, leadership in the hospital sector at all levels and in all areas and workforce planning at macro level.
New Skill Needs Background Paper
This paper summarises the responses received from HOSPEEM members to the Commission’s consultation on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to electromagnetic fields at work.
The protection of the health workforce from workplace risks is a key priority for hospital and healthcare employers across Europe and HOSPEEM fully supports the risk assessment-based approach which underpins the legislative framework for health and safety at work. There is a strong safety culture in the hospital and healthcare sector, focussing on minimising risks to both workers and the patients they care for.
In this context, given the lack of evidence for any long-term adverse health effects and the exceptional rarity of even short term effects associated with the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the hospital and healthcare sector, HOSPEEM’s view is that the directive 2004/40/EC, in its current form, is not fit for purpose. In fact, if implemented it could expose healthcare workers to greater risks as it would be likely to lead to the increased use of other imaging techniques that rely on ionising radiation, the potential negative health effects of which are well known. HOSPEEM would therefore support a revision of the existing directive so that it is based upon the principle of risk assessment, excluding restrictive compliance with exposure limit values for the hospital and healthcare sector which already has alternative adequate safeguards in place.
FULL TEXT: HOSPEEM response to EMF first Social Partner Consultation