European Hospital & Healthcare Employers’ Association

Social Partners signed a Framework of Actions on Recruitment and Retention on 17 December 2010

Press Communication

This framework constitutes an important basis for social partners at European and national levels to develop concrete action to tackle staff shortages and qualification needs now and in the future.

Our framework shows that social partners can produce practical results that will improve health care delivery in the interest of patients, health care providers and workers. To have the right workforce planning mechanisms in place is key from an employers’ perspective in the health and hospital sector. Innovative workplace designs can be supported by ICT-instruments, actively involving the healthcare workforce and their representatives.” says Godfrey Perera, HOSPEEM Secretary General.

The chief executive of HOSPEEM also warned against short-sighted cuts in health expenditure in the context of the current crisis. “It not only takes a long time to train qualified staff, but also requires the necessary resources. We therefore should deal carefully with these resources.”

Our healthcare systems cannot function properly without a well-trained and motivated workforce. Their contribution must be recognised also in their terms and conditions of work,” stresses Carola Fischbach-Pyttel, EPSU General Secretary. She underlines the added value of facilitating full-time work and integrating fix-term and agency workers into the regular workforce. “This objective we need to pursue over time through concrete steps. We see it as our task to make the healthcare and hospital sector an attractive workplace for women and men. We therefore need measures for improved work-life balance in the sector.”

The social partners have agreed to develop joint model initiatives, supported also by the collection of case studies and good practice.

They also committed themselves to jointly monitor relevant European legislation and policies and to embark on follow-up action on the implementation of the Code of Conduct on Ethical Cross-border Recruitment and Retention in the Hospital Sector.

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Meeting with Minister for Health Didzis Gavars

Press Release

Meeting of the Minister for Health Didzis Gavars with Godfrey Perera, Secretary General of European hospital and healthcare employers’ association

(Riga) – “The involvement of health care sector NGO’s in the decision making of high importance issues gives an opportunity for eventually best problem solutions. Therefore the proposals and warnings from professionals should be taken into account in the development process of next year’s budget. In my opinion, the health care budget should not be subject for further decrease and taking into account all the financial possibilities in future the health care budget should make 4% of the GDP in order to stabilize the health care sector”, said the Minister for Health of the Republic of Latvia Didzis Gavars in the meeting with Godfrey Perera, Secretary General of the European hospital and healthcare employers’ association and Jevgenijs Kalejs, the Chair of Latvian Hospital Association.

During the meeting there were discussions on the situation in the field of health care in Latvia and as well as in the European Union. The Minister for Health of the Republic of Latvia emphasized that there should be further actions taken in order to increase the efficiency of the health care sector by developing out-patient care. As well as during the meeting there was stressed the need for continuing the work together with social partners on the development of National Human resources program, that would in a long term grant access to health care services from highly qualified health care professionals.

During the meeting the implementation of the not yet adopted proposal for a Directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare was pointed out as one of the main challenges on the European Union level.

European organisations agree on measures to counter workplace violence

Press release

Eight European organisations of social partners have today adopted joint Guidelines setting out the practical steps that can be taken by employers, workers and trade unions to tackle problems of thirdparty violence in a range of different service sectors. The guidelines have been agreed by CEMR, CoESS, EFEE, EPSU, ETUCE, EuroCommerce, HOSPEEM and UNI Europa, all sectors which face the challenge of violence originating from members of the public.

The European Working Conditions Survey shows that almost one in ten workers in the EU report having suffered violence, bullying or harassment at work in the previous year (results 2005 survey).
According to the survey, carried out by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, third party violence at the hands of clients, customers or patients is more common than violence from work colleagues. Threats of violence and actual violence from third parties are most common in a variety of sectors.

The eight sectors are increasingly concerned about the impact of such violence since it not only undermines the health and dignity of individual workers, but also has a very real economic impact in terms of absences from the workplace, morale and staff turnover.

The Guidelines are the outcome of a two-year process supported by the European Commission to assess the issues through research, workshops and the exchange of best practices.The Guidelines aim to:

– Increase awareness and understanding of employers, workers, their representatives and other public authorities (e.g. health and safety agencies, police, etc) of the issue of third party violence
– Demonstrate the commitment of social partners to working together and sharing experiences and good practice to help prevent and manage problems of harassment and/or violence instigated by third parties and reduce the impact on employees’ health and well-being, sickness absence and productivity.
– Provide employers, workers and their representatives at all levels with Guidelines to identify, prevent manage and tackle problems of work related harassment and violence instigated by third parties.

The Guidelines complement the cross-sectoral agreement on violence and harassment at work, adopted in 20074.

CEMR, CoESS, EFEE, EPSU, ETUCE, EuroCommerce, HOSPEEM and UNI Europa will work together to implement the Guidelines in all member states.

FULL TEXT: Multisectoral Guidelines Signed


Press release: Press Release Signature guidelines 30 Sept 2010

Multi-sectoral guidelines to tackle third-party violence and harassment related to work

Eight European Sectoral Social Partners; HOSPEEM, CEMR, CoESS, EFEE, EuroCommerce, EPSU, UNI Europa and ETUCE reached an agreement on a set of “Multi-sectoral Guidelines to Tackle Third-Party Violence and Harassment related to Work” on 16 July 2010.

The social partners from Central Government Administration (Trade Union’s National and European Delegation – TUNED and European Public Administration Employers – EUPAE) added their signatures to the Multisectoral Guidelines on 17 December 2018, at the Liaison Forum in Brussels. Find the press release here

The aim of the Guidelines is to ensure that that each workplace has a results-oriented policy which addresses the issue of third-party violence. The Guidelines set out the practical steps that can be taken by employers, workers and their representatives /trade unions to reduce, prevent and mitigate problems. The steps reflect the best practices developed in our sectors and they can be complemented by more specific and/or additional measures.

According to EU and national law, both employers and workers have obligations in the field of health and safety. Although, the duty to ensure the health and safety of workers in every aspect related to the work lies with the employer, the employees also have a responsibility to take care, as far as possible, of their own health and safety and that of other persons affected by their actions at work, in accordance with their training and the instructions given by their employer. Employers also have an obligation to consult workers and/or their representatives and allow them to take part on all questions relating to health and safety at work. This reflects awareness that, in practice, a joint approach to health and safety is the most successful.

The signatory social partners from the local and regional governments, healthcare, commerce, private security and education sectors are increasingly concerned about the impact of third-party violence on employees because it not only undermines an individual’s health and dignity, but also has a very real economic impact in terms of absence from the workplace, morale and staff turnover. Third party-violence can also create an environment that is unsafe and even frightening to the public and service users and therefore has a wide negative social impact.

Work-related third-party violence and harassment can take many forms. It could:

a) Be physical, psychological, verbal and/or sexual b) Be one-off incidents or more systematic patterns of behaviour, by an individual or group c) Originate from the actions or behaviour of clients, customers, patients, service users, pupils or parents, members of the public, or of the service provider d) Range from cases of disrespect to more serious threats and physical assault; e) Be caused by mental health problems and/or motivated by emotional reasons, personal dislike, prejudices on grounds of gender, racial/ethnic origin, religion and belief, disability, age, sexual orientation or body image. f) Constitute criminal offences aimed at the employee and his/her reputation or the property of the employer or client which may be organised or opportunistic and which require the intervention of public authorities g) Deeply affect the personality, dignity and integrity of the victims h) Occur at the work place, in the public space or in a private environment and is work related. i) Occur as cyber-bullying/cyber-harassment through a wide range of information and communication technologies (ICT).

The issue of third party violence is sufficiently distinct from the question of violence and harassment (among colleagues) in the workplace, and sufficiently significant in terms of its impact on the health and safety of workers and its economic impact to warrant a distinctive approach.

Although there are sectoral and organisational differences with regard to third-party violence faced by workers in different occupations and workplaces, the key elements of good practice and steps to tackle it are common to all working environments. These elements are: a partnership approach; clear definitions; prevention through risk assessment, awareness raising, training; clear reporting and follow-up; and appropriate evaluation.

With the support of the European Commission the multi-sectoral social partners organized two major conferences in Brussels on 14 March 2008 and 22 October 2009 at which the employers’ and trade unions’ research into third-party violence was presented along with case studies and joint conclusions. These Guidelines build on these initiatives. They complement the cross-sectoral Framework Agreement on Harassment and Violence at Work of 26 April 2007. The way in which particular services are organised and provided reflects national, regional and local circumstances. Where social partners are already implementing the measures set out in these Guidelines the main action to take will be to report on progress made.

The multi-sectoral social partners recognize that the employers and workers have professional, ethical and legal obligations to third parties as well as to each other.

FULL TEXT: Multi Sectoral Guidelines on Third Party Violence

(also available in FR/DE/BG/CZ/DK/EE/EL/ES/FI/HU/IT/LT/NL/PL/PT/RO/RU/SK/SL)

HOSPEEM response to the second-stage of consultation on the protection of workers from the risk related to exposure to electromagnetic fields at work under Article 154 of the TFUE

Introductory comments

The European Commission, following the provisions of article 154 of the Treaty, has launched a second stage social partner consultation on the protection of workers from the risk related to exposure to electromagnetic fields at work. HOSPEEM responded to the first stage consultation underling its support for an approach to the issue based on risk assessment and emphasising the strong health and safety culture which characterises the healthcare sector, stressing that the safeguard of workers and patients is guaranteed through several practices already in place in the sector.

Moreover, HOSPEEM expressed deep concern with regard to the exposure limit values established in Directive 2004/40/EC that would have ruled out certain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) practices, leading to the unwelcome consequence of requiring the use of different medical imaging techniques, based on ionising radiation, which has serious potential long term effects on health.

HOSPEEM welcomes the European Commission’s second stage consultation document and in particular the proposed approach it sets out in relation to the use of MRI in the healthcare sector.

FULL TEXT: HOSPEEM EMF second stage response

HOSPEEM response to the first-phase consultation “Reviewing the Working Time Directive” under Article 154 of the TFUE

FULL TEXT: HOSPEEM response to WTD consultation

The European Commission, following the provisions of article 154 of the Treaty, has launched the Consultation “Reviewing the Working Time Directive”. The aim of this document is to seek the social partners’ views on possible action that could be undertaken at Community level regarding any revision of Directive 2003/88/EC[1] “Working time Directive”.

HOSPEEM contributed to the earlier consultation focusing on the organisation of working time in the healthcare systems of the Member States. This is an issue of great importance to the health sector that delivers a 24-hour service, 365 days a year. Patient safety and the safety of health workers are of paramount importance to HOSPEEM members. As the health sector is a 24-hour service, it needs flexibility to deliver high quality care. Therefore HOSPEEM believes that, in order to run efficient health services in the European Union, it is important that any future changes to the directive should include real flexibility to ensure well functioning health services, able to match European citizens’ needs in the 21stcentury, as well as proper protection measures to ensure the health and safety of all those who work in health services.

[1] DIRECTIVE 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, 4 November 2003, concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time.

Agreement on the directive on prevention from sharp injuries

Joint press release

HOSPEEM – EPSU on the agreement on the directive on prevention from sharp injuries

The European Hospital and Healthcare Sector Social Partners – The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) and the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association (HOSPEEM) welcomed the decision of the Council which adopted the directive on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector today. The agreement between the European Social Partners in the hospital and healthcare sector signed on 17 July 2009 has become law. Now the European Member States have three years to implement the requirements set out by the directive.

Godfrey Perera, Secretary General of HOSPEEM said that, “the Directive is a fundamental step toward the improvement of health and safety of patients, workers and employers in the hospital and healthcare sector. Indeed, when implemented it will diminish the occurrence of accidents and infections. We are conscious that this problem cannot be eliminated completely, but we are keen to make sure there are appropriate procedures in place to try to reduce the number of injuries by as much as possible. The use of risk assessment, prevention, protection and training procedures will help to achieve this result.”

“This is a major break-through,” Carola Fischbach-Pyttel, General Secretary of EPSU said, “With this directive EPSU and HOSPEEM have laid an important basis to create the safest possible working environment to prevent workers’ injuries caused by all medical sharps. We stress that a well trained, adequately resourced and secure health service workforce is essential to underpin that objective.”

For further information, please contact:

HOSPEEM: Federica BENASSI +32 2 229 21 57 | E-mail:

EPSU: Carola Fischbach-Pyttel +32 2 250 10 91 | E-mail:

HOSPEEM is the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers Association. It regroups at European level national , regional and local employers’ associations operating in the hospital and health care sector and delivering services of general interest, in order to co-ordinate their views and actions with regard to a sector and a market in constant evolution. HOSPEEM is an individual member of CEEP.

EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions. It is the largest federation of the ETUC. 8 million public service workers from over 200 trade unions are members. They organise workers in the energy, water and waste sectors, health and social services and local and national administration.

HOSPEEM – EPSU joint clarification of the Framework agreement on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector

HOSPEEM and EPSU have agreed a joint reply concerning the agreement on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector. This document is a joint clarification to questions that the social partners received from the members of the Social Question Working Party Meeting, on 25 January 2010.

HOSPEEM and EPSU were invited during the meeting to give a contribution with regard to analysing the text of the agreement. As joint signatories to the agreement the social partners were invited to clarify the technical points in the agreement.

FULL TEXT: Questions to the social partners – Joint reply