Brussels, 3 May 2017
“Health has social, environmental and behaviour determinants. We need to address public health with ambition: prevent deterioration of health and avoidable deaths, invest in health promotion and prevention. The EU together with Member States could save thousands of lives each year. Social partners can play a central role in this process. Be sure that I am one of you.” said European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. This passionate response came in a meeting with HOSPEEM and EPSU Secretary Generals, Mr. Tjitte Alkema and Mr. Jan Willem Goudriaan.
The representatives of the employers and trade unions met with the Commissioner responsible for health and food safety to discuss their joint work on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) that culminated in the signing of the Joint Declaration by HOSPEEM and EPSU in November 2016. EPSU and HOSPEEM informed the Commissioner about their joint upcoming conference on CPD in June 2017 and invited him to their second conference scheduled to take place in April or May 2018 in Vilnius dealing with the two most widespread health and safety hazards in the health care sector, namely musculoskeletal disorders and psycho-social risks and stress at the workplace as well as on patient safety. The Commissioner expressed his support for the Joint Declaration and more generally also for the work of the EU-level sectoral social dialogue partners for the hospital/health care sector that recently adopted their work programme. He added that social partners should keep the Joint Declaration on CPD for All Health Workers in the EU on the agenda of EU Member States and of the Council of the European Union.
Other issues addressed were
- the effectiveness of guidance on cross-border ethical recruitment and retention,
- how best to tackle changing demands for the health workforce and the managers in hospitals linked to the digitalisation of health care and the need for up-to-date digital skills in the health care sector as a key priority of comprehensive vocational education and training policies,
- activities of the hospital employers and hospital associations to reduce risks linked to antimicrobial resistance,
- the challenges of the demographic changes – such as higher incidence of multi-morbidity, chronical diseases and dementia as well as
- the importance of using European Reference Networks in the field of rare diseases as good practice approaches
EPSU and HOSPEEM also exchanged on the possibilities to coordinate or join up forces to follow-up to the recommendations of the Report of the UN Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth and on the need for more public investment in health care.
The meeting took place on 24 April 2017. The Commissioner was accompanied by Annika Nowak, Member of Cabinet and Concetta Cultrera, DG SANTE.