EPSU-HOSPEEM Guidelines and examples of good practice to address the challenges of an ageing workforce in the healthcare sector

Brussels, 11 December 2013: Signature of the EPSU-HOSPEEM guidelines and examples of good practice to address the challenges of an ageing workforce in the healthcare sector.

In the context of the Plenary Meeting 2013 of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for the Hospital Sector, the Secretary General of HOSPEEM, Tjitte Alkema, and the Chair of EPSU’s Standing Committee “Health and Social Services”, Liza di Paolo Sandberg, signed the joint guidelines and examples of good practice to address the challenges of an ageing workforce in the healthcare sector. The document had been agreed upon in October 2013, following nearly two years of negotiations.

The aim of the document is to provide guidance to support social partners as well as decision makers, managers, workers and other stakeholders at national, regional and local and level, addressing different aspects related to age management policies such as flexible working arrangements, talent management and training, health and safety at work, workforce planning and retirement planning. It is for the social partners at all levels to work in partnership and to consider how this guidance can complement their own systems, initiatives and measures.

Read and download the press release

EPSU-HOSPEEM Guidelines to address the challenges of an ageing workforce in the healthcare sector:

 Download in ENG  Download in FR  Download in DE








Background: HOSPEEM-EPSU work on ageing workforce 2006-2013

HOSPEEM-EPSU Study (2006) “Promoting realistic active ageing policies in the hospital sector” : Download in EN  Download in FR

Technical Seminar HOSPEEM-EPSU “Managing the ageing workforce: Challenges, opportunities and experiences” (Brussels, 27 April 2012)  Download the programme

Documents provided by HOSPEEM members and EPSU affiliates


Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH): Working time + Occupational health – EN
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH): Shift planning + Ergonomics – EN
Public Works Department: Helsinki case study in good health age programme – EN


Berufsgenossenschaft für Gesundheitsdienst und Wohlfahrtspflege (BGW): Älter werden im Pflegeberuf – DE
Initiative Neue Qualität der Arbeit (INQA)-Ratgeber Demographie: Angebote für Unternehmen im demographischen Wandel – DE
Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Securing the Future with Prevention: Strategies for a World of Work aligned to Demographic Change – EN

The Netherlands
StAZ: Memo “Active Ageing + Dutch Ageing Workforce Policies” – EN

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Nothern Ireland
DWP: Health Sector: Tackling Ageing Workforce Issues: Resource Pack – EN
DWP/NHS: Managing Ageing Workforce Health & Social Care – EN
Agewell Initiative – Sandwell Primary Care Trust (NHS) – EN
Guide Employers Performance & Retirement Practices (UK) – EN
RCN: Protecting employment for older nurses – EN
RCN: Nurses later stage careers – EN

Background documents collected by HOSPEEM and EPSU Secretariats 

DG EMPL: Integration Ageing Workforce (2001) – EN
CEEP: Valuing Age (2003) – EN
EFILWC: Working conditions ageing workforce (2008) – EN
EFILWC: Search engine for good practices in ageing management of Eurofound
OSHA: Thematic Webpage “Ageing Workers – Safety and Health”
OSHA: Thematic Webpage “Ageing Workers – Safety and Health”
EU Trio Presidency: Assessing Future Health Workforce Needs (2010) – EN
HOPE: Ageing Workforce and Ageing Patients (2010)
ETUI: Occupations and Ageing@Work (2010): Download in EN Download in FR
Eurofound: Sustainable Work and the Ageing Workforce – Report on the basis of the 5th European Working Conditions Survey (2012)
DG EMPL: EEO Review – Employment Policies to Promote Active Ageing 2012 (2012): Download in EN, Download in FR and Download in DE
Andrea Winkelmann-Gleed: Demographic change and implications for workforce ageing in Europe: Raising awareness and improving practice (WLRI Working Paper 5)

Research Papers and Presentations at Technical Review Seminar “Employment policies to promote active ageing” in the framework of the Mutual Learning Programme under the European Employment Strategy, 11 June 2012, Brussels 

Paper “Globalization and the Labour Market Situation of Older Workers: Exploring Trends, Challenges and Strategies for Adaptation”, Dirk Hofäcker, MZES, Mannheim (Germany)
Paper “Living Longer – Working Better”, Donald Storie, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EUROFOUND), Dublin
Presentation “Elaborating guidance and good practice in relation to various challenges of an ageing health care workforce: Flashlights on work in progress between EPSU and HOSPEEM”, Mathias Maucher, EPSU
Presentation “The role of measures to encourage older workers to stay longer in the labour process”, Jan Schugk, Confederation of Finnish Industries

Liaison Forum Social Dialogue, 27 May 2013, Brussels

Presentation “Managing the Ageing Workforce:-A joint priority of HOSPEEM and EPSU, the European Social Partners in the hospital sector: Guidelines and examples of good practice to address the challenges of an agein workforce”, Elisa Benedetti, HOSPEEM



The Dutch Federation of University Medical Centers (NFU) has recently joined HOSPEEM as an observer member.

NFU is the employers’ association representing eight University Medical Centres in the Netherlands. The organisation aims to promote the centers’ shared interests, represent them and reinforce their position through cooperation in areas such as finance, working conditions, politics, research, teaching and patient care.

Except for NFU,  the Dutch healthcare sector is represented in HOSPEEM by NVZ which has a full member status.

NFU official website: http://www.nfu.nl/

HOSPEEM replies to the EC public consultation on occupational health & safety

HOSPEEM has replied to the public consultation launched by the European Commission further to the results of the evaluation of the European Strategy on Safety and Health at Work 2007-2012 (http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=699&consultId=13&furtherConsult=yes).

The aim of the consultation is to identify current and future challenges in the occupational safety and health area and instruments to tackle these challenges.

In its reply HOSPEEM supported the approach to define common general objectives for the future health and safety policies at European level. However, the organisation stated that actions in this field have to be targeted on each national situation, legislation, organisation and practice. HOSPEEM emphasised also the importance of social partners’ involvement in the future health and safety-related initiatives.

HOSPEEM_reply_EC_public consultation_on_OSH

Tjitte Alkema speaks at the WHO meeting on mobility and recruitment of healthcare workers

2–3 May 2013, Amsterdam

World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, in cooperation with the Western Pacific Region and the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, organised a meeting on policy dialogue on International health worker mobility and recruitment challenges.

The meeting took place at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam on 2-3 May, 2013. It aimed at analysing the challenges in implementing the WHO Code of Practice on International Recruitment of Health Personnel and identifying policy options, areas of technical cooperation to these challenges.

Among the participants invited for the second day session was Tjitte Alkema, Secretary General of HOSPEEM, who gave a presentation in the panel on “International recruitment and integration of migrant health workers”. It concerned HOSPEEM’s experience in implementation of the EPSU-HOSPEEM Code of Conduct on Cross-border Recruitment and Retention and the context of the Netherlands. The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss future WHO–HOSPEEM cooperation on the recruitment and retention issues.

The technical report of the WHO policy dialogue on international health workforce mobility and recruitment challenges is now avaible online.

Healthcare employers & employees share their experience on implementation of the Sharps directive

The European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association (HOSPEEM) and the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) organised the first regional seminar to promote and support the implementation of Directive 2010/32/EU on the prevention of sharps injuries in the hospital and health care sector. This project is funded by the European Commission.

The seminar took place on 31 January in Dublin and was hosted by the Health Service Executive (HSE) representing the Irish health employers and IMPACT, the Irish Trade Union. The seminar was attended by 90 representatives of employers, employees, national authorities and other stakeholders from 10 countries.

During the seminar a presentation by ICF GHK was made to outline the first result of the survey on the progress so far in the implementation of the directive.

There were also presentations about the transposition of the directive in Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom from practitioners and academia representatives. The speakers underlined the importance of continued work on the issue, investment in protective safety equipment, better training and reporting, and the role social partners should play at local, national and European level to prevent sharps injuries.

The presentations were followed by working groups who discussed how best to implement the directive. The groups comprised of employers and employees’ representatives from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The findings gathered at the seminar will be published in the event report in mid-February on the webpage devoted to the project.

Further seminars in the framework of the project will take place on 7 March in Rome and on 16 April in Vienna. The final conference will be held on 20 June in Barcelona.
For further information, please contact:

Elisa Benedetti +32 2 229 21 58
Ewelina Pysklo +32 2 229 21 57
E-mail: hospeem@hospeem.eu

Mathias Maucher +32 2 250 10 93
E-mail: mmaucher@epsu.org

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 and the second largest federation of the ETUC, with 8 million public service workers from over 200 trade unions in 45 countries. They organise workers in the energy, water and waste sectors, health and social services and local and national administration. In health and social services EPSU members affiliate about 3.5 million workers.

This project is supported with funds from the European Commission

Tjitte Alkema elected Secretary General of HOSPEEM

Tjitte Alkema was elected Secretary General of HOSPEEM for a three-year mandate period, starting as of 1 January 2013.

Mr Alkema has been involved in HOSPEEM’s activities since 2008 as a member of General Assembly on behalf of NVZ Dutch Association of Hospitals. In 2010 he was elected for the Vice Secretary General position at HOSPEEM which he fulfilled until the end of 2012.

At national level Mr Alkema works as the Manager of Industrial Relations & Education at NVZ Dutch Association of Hospitals, Chairman of the Foundation of Hospital labour market activities (StAZ), and Chairman of the consultative body on collective bargaining in the Dutch Hospital sector on behalf of NVZ Dutch Association of Hospitals (ROZ). Before that he worked at several managerial positions in a Dutch trade union association.

Ulrike Neuhauser (Austrian Hospital and Health Services Platform) and Elvira Gentile (ARAN, Agenzia per la Rappresentanza Negoziale delle Pubbliche Amministrazioni) were appointed Vice Secretaries General of HOSPEEM.

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.

Download Press Communication

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