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Issue 4 - October 2020


Dear reader reader,

Over the summer, the fall in COVID-19 cases provided a respite in several European countries. However, COVID-19 case notification rates have increased steadily across Europe since August 2020, bringing increased challenges for health systems across Europe. Health public authorities and healthcare providers are actively engaged in strategies to control the pandemic with infection prevention measures as well as in the recovery effort. Among others, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control updated their guidance to healthcare facilities and providers to reinforce prevention and preparedness for COVID-19 in healthcare settings (5th update).

This fall HOSPEEM and EPSU have issued a joint position on the protection of workers from exposure to hazardous medicinal products given the European Commission study on this topic. HOSPEEM and EPSU have also applied to become official campaign partner of the EU-OSHA Campaign 2020-2022​ Healthy Workplaces Campaign 'Lighten the Load'. Given the exceptional circumstances, the plenary session of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee in the Hospital Sector will take place on 16 November via videoconference.

In this edition, you will find also find HOSPEEM news including our recent statutory meetings via videoconference on 8 October and 13 November as well as EU News, relevant events and publications for hospital employers. This newsletter has been conceived as interactive tools to facilitate the flow of communication from the EU level, to support the exchange of information between our members and you are invited to send us your contributions for future issues.

Enjoy your reading!

Marta Branca
Vice-Secretary General of HOSPEEM


HOSPEEM Steering Committee and General Assembly in October 2020

HOSPEEM held its Steering Committee (SC) and General Assembly on 8 October (online). The HOSPEEM members discussed updates from the HOSPEEM expert groups, the ongoing European Pillar of Social Rights Consultation and the multi-sectoral project proposal on third party violence.

HOSPEEM-EPSU position on EC study on hazardous drugs

HOSPEEM and EPSU have published their position on the European Commission study supporting the assessment of different options concerning the protection of workers from exposure to hazardous medicinal products. This joint position paper calls the European Commission to include in its CMD4 report or accept parliamentary amendments for the revision of the CMD in 2020-2021 that include hazardous drugs, including cytotoxic drugs, as a category in Appendix I. For HOSPEEM, it is also particularly important to address handling techniques of hazardous medicinal products that are in line with national legislative specificities.

DG HOME Consultation on Critical Infrastructure Protection

Since June 2020, HOSPEEM has been involved in the DG HOME Stakeholders Consultation on possibility to enlarge the scope of the 2008 Directive on Critical Infrastructure, by including other sectors, such as the healthcare sector. This in light of the increasing links between sectors and the existence of new threats (e.g. climate change, pandemics). DG HOME is currently contemplating putting in place certain forms of minimum resilience-enhancing requirements (e.g. business continuity arrangements, etc.) on operators designated as providing essential services by competent authorities in the Member States. The legislative proposal should be adopted by the end of the year.

EU-OSHA Campaign – Healthy Workplaces 'Lighten the Load'

HOSPEEM and EPSU applied to become official campaign partner of the EU-OSHA Campaign 2020-2022 Healthy Workplaces 'Lighten the Load'. The cooperation of employers and trade unions is fundamental in successfully managing and preventing musculoskeletal disorders.

HOSPEEM-EPSU Strengthening social dialogue project

The third regional workshop and final dissemination workshop of the HOSPEEM-EPSU project on strengthening social dialogue in the hospital sector are postponed to 2021 due to the exceptional circumstances.


NHS on the COVID-19 and the healthcare workforce: "supporting our greatest asset"

In this new report, part of the NHS Reset campaign sets out what employers in health and care have told us they need from different levels of the system, to enable them to work with local partners to attract, recruit, train, develop, deploy and support their workforce. The report highlights how the pandemic has brought about a renewed focus on its people, creating a great deal of positive action across the sector to support staff. The COVID-19 pandemic has been without precedent in the demands it has placed on health and care staff across all settings and disciplines. In this context, the response to longstanding problems, the response has become even more critical.


EC publishes Work Programme 2021

The European Commission publishes its 2021 Work Programme, among others including an evaluation of state aid rules for health and social services of general economic interest, and the envisioned Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights, a Communication on the EU strategic framework on health and safety at work, an evaluation on the application on patient rights in cross-border healthcare Directive.

EC State of the Union address highlights the importance of health

In her address, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission stressed the need for a stronger European Health Union and to discuss the questions of health competence in the context of the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe.

European Society of Intensive Care Medicine organises COVID-19 Skills Preparation Course

With the support of the European Commission, the European Society (ESICM) provides training on intensive care medicine skills for health professionals not regularly working on intensive care units.

The Council of the EU agrees its negotiating position on EU4Health programme

The member states' ambassadors agreed on the mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament on the envisaged EU4Health programme (2021-2027), keeping their position on a budget of EUR 1.9 billion.

WHO/Europe and the European Commission agree on future common action in 5 key areas

The joint statement recognises the synergies between the European Commission initiatives and the new European Programme of Work "United Action for Better Health" and sets out priorities to strengthen effective, accessible, resilient and innovative health systems. Regarding strengthening the health workforce, the organisations agreed to develop in-service training programmes to reorient and requalify the workforce towards people-centred care, ensure an efficient public health workforce equipped with the right skills.

EC publishes proposal on the fourth revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive

The proposal sets updated limit values for three important substances: acrylonitrile, nickel compounds and benzene. While the 3rd revision outlined the uptake of hazardous medicinal products and cytotoxic substances relevant to the health sector, the proposed substances are not found in the health sector.

Andrea Nahles becomes special advisor on social dialogue at the European Commission

Federal President of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Andrea Nahles, has been appointed as special advisor to Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights. She will focus on strengthening the social dialogue in Europe, as well as the role of the social partner.


29/10/2020: Webinar on Covid-19 health response package, organised by the European Commission

26/10/2020: EU Health Summit: Time for Action, organised by the EU Health coalition

22/10/2020: Online conference "Musculoskeletal disorders prevalence, prevention and policy. What have we learnt? Evidence from EU-OSHA research", organised by EU-OSHA

20/10/2020: Expert Panel Opinion on the organisation of resilient health and social care following the COVID-19 pandemic, organised by the European Commission

19/10/2020: Online Conference on "Social Dialogue in Social Services for a strong social Europe", organised by Social Employers and EPSU.

16/10/2020: Webinar on COVID-19: mental health support network- Addressing mental health needs of healthcare workers, organised by European Commission

15/10/2020: Personalised Health Index launch: are European health systems ready to face what the future holds?, organised by Future Proofing Healthcare

07/10/2020: Workers and Covid-19: What lessons for interest representation and trade unions?, organised by CESI

05-06/10/2020: Multi-Stakeholder Workshop on Digital Tools for Patient Empowerment and Person-Centred Care – best practices that boost cooperation between patients and healthcare professionals, organised by DigitalHealthEurope

01/10/2020: Speaking at the Webinar "Transforming healthcare: A European healthcare workforce", organised by HFE and the EP Interest group on Innovation in Health and Social Care

30/09/2020: Webinar: European Reference Group Digital skills for the health workforce - DISH, organised by EHMA

30/09/2020: Online European Health Forum Gastein 2020 – "Dancing with elephants" - New partnerships for health, democracy, business

24/09/2020: Presentation of the HOSPEEM - EPSU position paper at the Stakeholder conference for a study supporting the assessment of different options concerning the protection of workers from exposure to hazardous medicinal products, including cytotoxic medicinal products, organised by COWI

29/09/2020: HOSPEEM Presentation of Medical Sharps Directive follow-up at the BeMedTech webinar on Preventing healthcare workers injuries from sharp objects: the way forward for Belgium

29/09/2020: Representing the health sector at the EU-OSHA MSD Healthy Workplace Campaign stakeholder meeting

28/09/2020: Webinar on EU funding 2021-2027 for private hospitals and their federations, organised by UEHP

18/09/2020: Webinar World Patient Safety Day 2020: Joint action for health worker safety, organised by WHO/IOSH

9/09/2020: Speaking at the Webinar on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics : Thematic Network - "Preparing Health Care Professionals To ‘Future’ Healthcare Challenges (AI and Robotics), organized by EHMA and HFE.

03/09/2020: C19-SPACE Training Programme, organised by ESICM

31/07/2020 Webinar "Better COVID-19 preparedness through accreditation and implementation of hospital management systems", organised by EHMA.


HOSPEEM events
- 13/11/2020 HOSPEEM Steering Committee/General Assembly, Online

- 16/11/2020 SSDC-HS Plenary 2020, Brussels, Online
- Spring/Summer 2021 Strengthening Social Dialogue Project workshops

Other events
- 03/11/2020: Hospital care and COVID-19: Balancing surge capacity and regular services, organised by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
- 10/11/2020: Health financing and COVID-19: Balancing financial incentives for sustaining health services, organised by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
- 12/11/2020: Workshop for social partners on the European Pillar of Social Rights, organised by European Commission
- 17-19/11/2020: Annual European Health Management Association Annual Conference, EHMA
- 17/11/2020: The health workforce and COVID-19: Protecting health workers while maintaining surge capacity, organised by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
- 24/11/2020: Nordic countries and COVID-19 health systems responses, organised by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
- 01/12/2020: Social health insurance countries and COVID-19 health systems responses, organised by theEuropean Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
- 08/12/2020: Visegrád countries and COVID-19 health systems responses, organised by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies


ECDC technical report on infection prevention and control and preparedness for COVID-19 in healthcare settings - Fifth update

This document aims to provide guidance to healthcare facilities and healthcare providers in the Europe on preparedness and infection prevention and control (IPC) measures for the management of possible and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in healthcare settings, including long-term care facilities (LTCFs). The target audience for this th update are national public health agencies, hospital administrators, LTCF administrators and healthcare workers.

Eurofound publishes project report on Capacity building for effective social dialogue in the European Union

This Eurofound report is identify the capacity-building needs and initiatives of social partners in relation to national frameworks for autonomous collective bargaining, the involvement in European social dialogue and the European Semester, and the development of membership and services for members.

Eurofound publishes policy brief on working conditions with a focus on the health sector

The analysis puts a spotlight on the multiple emotional demands on interactive service workers and assesses to what extent specific job resources can help to prevent adverse impacts of such demands. The health sector workers are singled out in the analysis, to highlight their working conditions and the challenges they face even in regular times.

European Commission: report on the implementation of the revised directive on professional qualifications 2013/55/EU

To reform the system of recognition of professional qualifications, the EU adopted Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications which was amended in 2013 by Directive 2013/55/EU. This report published in 2020 and an accompanying Commission staff working document, presents the major points of the 2013 modernisation and provisional conclusions on its implementation. One of the points for attention is the issue of partial access to a profession.

EC Communication on effective vaccination strategies and vaccines deployment

Among others, the communication calls to the Member States ensure that vaccination services have sufficient […] skilled workforce for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Member States should already consider new recruitments and training programmes, potentially involving students or retired staff.

EC Expert Panel draft opinion on the organisation of resilient health and social care following the COVID-19 pandemic

According to this expert panel, health systems can prepare better for future threats by enhancing local workforce training and resilience, creating new systems for research and development and production and sales (especially for innovative medicines), reducing disinformation, fostering inter-professional collaboration with community health workers and informal care givers for example, integrating information and communication technologies across care levels and public health, strengthening primary and mental health care. This opinion highlights the need for an investment in the development of a comprehensive resilience testing of health systems that use qualitative and quantitative data collection methodologies to generate meaningful data for health system transformation. In addition, it is argued that added value will result from the creation of learning communities both within and across Member State healthcare systems.

Health System Response Monitor (HSRM) updates

The Health System Response Monitor (HSRM) has been designed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to collect and organize up-to-date information on how countries are responding to the crisis: How do the COVID-19 testing criteria differ across countries? How are countries creating extra bed and ICU capacity? How are countries keeping the rest of the health system operating? This tool focuses primarily on the responses of health systems but also captures wider public health initiatives. This is a joint initiative of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the European Commission, and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

EC Employment and Social Developments in Europe review

This years' edition is dedicated to the theme of social fairness and solidarity, among others providing insights on demographic ageing, and the green and digital transitions. Besides, the report highlights social dialogue and collective bargaining as driving factors for fairness at the workplace.

Creating the workforce of the future: a new collaborative approach for the NHS and colleges in England

Meeting present and future workforce needs is one of the biggest challenges facing NHS leaders. By better embedding colleges into core NHS workforce development, and better using their local recruitment and training power, the NHS Conferation help to ensure a sustainable, agile and innovative future health and care workforce.

WHO Pulse survey on continuity of essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic: interim report

The Pulse survey on continuity of essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic aimed to gain initial insight from country key informants into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on essential health service.

WHO Charter: Health worker safety: a priority for patient safety

This Charter was presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the occasion of World Patient Safety Day, 17 September 2020, which was dedicated to the theme “Health worker safety: a priority for patient safety”. WHO Member States and all relevant stakeholders are invited to support and endorse this Charter.

ILO policy brief on how social dialogue is making a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic

This policy brief published by the Internatinal Labour Organization is an attempt to analyse how member States made extensive use of "peak-level" social dialogue to shape emergency measures for mitigating the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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