European Hospital & Healthcare Employers’ Association

HOSPEEM Study Visit to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in March 2014

In line with the priority of strengthening the cooperation within HOSPEEM membership, it is a pleasure to inform you that at the beginning of the spring a HOSPEEM study visit to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia gave a unique opportunity to visit members’ organizations and their associated organizations there. This was an occasion to meet with hospital managers, trade unions and government representatives, to hear about their priorities and challenges as well as having a fruitful exchange on EU topics.

Very impressive was to observe the level of innovation and research applied in the healthcare structures of the three countries, although at a different speeds resulting from available budgets. At the same time it was also particularly striking to hear how in an integrated Europe major threats to healthcare systems still exist. Referring here to Latvia, where political instability and major budget cuts due to the economic crisis since 2009 have very negative effects on hospitals, health workers and patients, endangering even basic access to healthcare services.

On top of this a major problem common to Baltic systems remains the brain-drain of high qualified and skilled health professionals which poses a serious challenge to the training performance and the sustainability of health systems. Ethical international workforce recruitment and retention is one of the issues identified as HOSPEEM’s priority since its foundation and this is one of the areas where our organisation can have a major positive impact. What we are doing in this field is of a primary importance for the sustainability of our health systems and we will be able to achieve only by keeping on working together

HOSPEEM thanks Jevgenjis Kaleis, Sigitas Griskonsis, Urmas Sule as well as their board and staff members for the warm welcome and the fruitful exchange which HOSPEEM will treasure for keeping on promoting and representing members’ interests at European level.