The joint HOSPEEM-EPSU project “Promotion and support of the implementation of Directive 2010/32/EU on the prevention of sharps injuries in the hospital and health care sector” has come to an end after a successful final conference in Barcelona.
The final conference saw the participation of around 100 stakeholders from the 27 EU countries and high level speakers, including the European Commission. This was the occasion for HOSPEEM and EPSU to take stock of the outcomes of the regional seminars held in Dublin (31 January), Rome (7 March) and Vienna (16 April) under the project and to discuss the future steps of social partners to make the provisions of the Directive reality at the workplaces in the health care sector and thereby significantly improve the safety and security of health care staff and the patients.
Speaking at the conference, Carola Fischbach-Pyttel, General Secretary of EPSU emphasised that the Sharps Directive clearly shows how the EU Social Dialogue can deliver results which have significant impact not only at European, but also at national level. Social dialogue is an essential instrument of democracy and legitimacy for the EU social partners should not allow the current economic crisis and austerity measures to jeopardise it. Speaking about the HOSPEEM-EPSU Directive, Ms Fischbach-Pyttel highlighted that investment in healthcare is well-spent money. The quality of services and the security and safety of health care workers and patients are paramount not only for the sustainability of the EU healthcare systems but also for the competitiveness of all the European countries and their economies.
Tjitte Alkema, Secretary General of HOSPEEM, highlighted the benefits of working in partnership which lead to negotiate on a very complex subject in a short period, in spite of strong oppositions. This was only possible because of the understanding between the two Social Partners HOSPEEM and EPSU. Mr Alkema stressed that even though the deadline for transposition of the Directive into national legislation has passed, the actual work of social partners for the implementation at the workplace has just begun. A strong commitment from both sides will be essential to achieve the objectives set out in the Directive. In times when the Social Dialogue is challenged both at European and national level, HOSPEEM and EPSU need to show that social partners together can deliver in a time and cost efficient way.
The European Commission represented by François Ziegler and Francisco Jesús Alvarez Hidalgo highlighted that due to the different strains facing the EU Social Dialogue, social partners cannot afford to fail and need to show that they can deliver and implement viable solutions in an effective way. The ownership of the Directive is shared between the sectoral social partners and the European Commission and the EC will do everything possible to support their work and to monitor the effective implementation of the provisions of the directive.
The findings gathered during the conference, together with the results on the implementation progress in the EU Members states, will feed into the final report from the project that will be presented to the European Commission and disseminated soon.