Issue 1 - January 2016 


Dear subscriber subscriber,

2015 has been a year rich in success and achievements for HOSPEEM: the contacts and the cooperation with the EU institutions and other relevant EU stakeholders have been strengthened, throughout the year HOSPEEM has been regularly invited to participate and contribute to high level events and meetings, two conferences have been organised in Paris and Helsinki in March and November 2015 on musculoskeletal disorders and psychosocial risks and stress at work in the context of the HOSPEEM-EPSU OSH project. Moreover, the organisation of study visits, being mutually beneficial to HOSPEEM and its members, has been pursued and the two-way communication with members has been further improved.

HOSPEEM has also been very active in social dialogue. 2015 marks the adoption of a follow-up report on the use and implementation of their Framework of Actions on Recruitment and Retention and the start of the drafting process of a declaration on Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and Life-Long Learning (LLL) for all health workers in the EU.

In December 2015, I was re-elected as Secretary General of HOSPEEM by the members of the General Assembly for a second three-year mandate period. I am very grateful for the support expressed by members and I hope together we will again achieve great results during the next 3 years.

HOSPEEM is making a kick-start in 2016, in particular with the meeting with Commissioner Andriukaitis and the participation in the European Dialogue on Skills and Migration, the DG SANTE workshop on CPD and patient safety and the Eurofound social partners’ lunch debate on the involvement of social partners in the European semester.

In this newsletter, you can find HOSPEEM News, News from the Members, EU News, upcoming events and recent publications. This newsletter has been conceived as an interactive tool to facilitate the flow of communication from the EU level, to support the exchange of information between our members and to give your organisation’s voice a broader diffusion across Europe. Therefore you are invited to send us your contributions to future issues.

I wish you all a Happy and fruitful 2016!

Tjitte Alkema

Secretary General of HOSPEEM



HOSPEEM-EPSU conference on psycho-social risks and stress at work

On 10 November 2015 in Helsinki, HOSPEEM and EPSU held a social partners’ conference on approaches to the issue of psycho-social risks and stress at work (PSRS@W), the second major activity foreseen under their joint project on health and safety risks in the hospital sector. This event, supported by EPSU and co-organised by the Finnish EPSU affiliates JHL, Superlitto and Tehy, was the contribution of HOSPEEM and EPSU to the EU-OSHA 2014-2015 “Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress” Campaign, as official campaign partners. The conference brought together 80 participants from 18 EU Member States. It was mainly attended by trade unions’ and employers’ representatives. The European Commission (DG EMPL, Health and Safety Unit) as well as national experts in the field of psycho-social risks and stress at work also took part in this event. A special issue of the HOSPEEM newsletter dedicated to the conference was published and is available hereRead more.

HOSPEEM study visit to CLAE

The day after the Helsinki conference, on 11 November 2015, HOSPEEM visited its Finnish member’s organisation, the Commission for Local Authority Employers – CLAE. During that day HOSPEEM had the opportunity to exchange with CLAE about their main priorities and the most prominent challenges in Finland linked to the major changes to the Finnish health system as well as to visit the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), a non-profit joint authority owned by 24 municipalities and employing over 22,000 professionals. Read more.


HOSPEEM General Assembly and Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee plenary meeting

On 9 December 2015 HOSPEEM members participated in the HOSPEEM General Assembly in Brussels. On this occasion Tjitte Alkema was re-elected Secretary General of HOSPEEM for a 3-year mandate period that started on January 1st, 2016. The discussions focused in particular on the HOSPEEM achievements in the second half of 2015 and on the identification of future work priorities. Klara Foti, Eurofound research manager, presented some findings of the Eurofound’s multiannual research programme aimed at analysing the role of the private sector in the delivery of public services.

 The Plenary meeting of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for the Hospital Sector (SSDC HS) took place the day after, on 10 December 2015. The joint follow-up report on the use and implementation of the HOSPEEM-EPSU Framework of Actions on Recruitment and Retention was unanimously adopted. Moreover, on this occasion, a first version of the joint HOSPEEM-EPSU declaration on Continuous Professional Development and Life-Long Learning for health professionals in the EU was presented.During the meeting, Ronald Batenburg (NIVEL), the leader of the consortium of the DG SANTE study “Support for the definition of core competences for healthcare assistants” (CC4HCA) was invited to discuss with the participants and provide them with detailed information about the aim and methodology of the study as well as an overview of the process.

 The dates of HOSPEEM and HOSPEEM-EPSU meetings for 2016 are listed in the events section on the HOSPEEM website. 



Members’ profile: Danish Regions

Danish Regions is the Danish member of HOSPEEM. Its overall mission is to safeguard the interests of the five Danish regions, at national and international level, assisting them with services and relevant information.

The most important tasks of the organisation are: to safeguard regional government interests within health care, hospitals, special education, regional development, environment and finances; to act as spokesman on behalf of the regions vis-à-vis national government, the EU, other interest organisations and the media; to negotiate the annual financial frames of the regions with national government; to negotiate pay and working conditions for regional employees as the regions' central employers and bargaining organisation. At a broader international level Danish Regions works to promote and spread information on regional democracy and self-government.

Danish Regions is run by a board of elected regional politicians from the five regions. The board is appointed for a four-year period, and reflects the political affinities of the 205 members of the five regional councils, the governing bodies of the regions. At the administrative level Danish Regions has a staff of 170 persons. 

Danish Regions keeps close contact with sister organisations in other European countries, and cooperate on common issues in order to strengthen the impact of regional and local statements and ideas. Read more.

The European Healthcare Waste Management project: call for experts

One of HOSPEEM’s member organisations, the NHS, is involved as a “partner” in this multi-country project, funded by the European Commission. Its aim is to develop a training programme/qualification in healthcare waste management which will have Europe-wide currency and will, by encouraging correct triage, treatment and disposal of hospital and healthcare waste:

• improve patient and staff safety

• cut costs

• protect the environment.

HOSPEEM members are invited to nominate an appropriate expert in healthcare waste in their country to become involved in disseminating the training programme. For more information, contact or consult the project’s webpage:



Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Since 1st January 2016, the Netherlands has been holding the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The main priority areas outlined in the programme of the Dutch presidency are jobs, growth and innovation; migration and international security; sound finances and a robust Eurozone; climate and energy policy. The Netherlands is chairing the Presidency for the 12th time, last time being in 2004. The Netherlands has taken over the Presidency from Luxembourg and will pass it to Slovakia. Read more.

New EU law to support mobility of health professionals across Europe

The new European rules on recognition of professional qualifications (Directive 2013/55/EU) enter into force now, January 2016. The changes aim to make it easier for professionals (including healthcare professionals) to practise in countries other than the one in which they qualified. Safeguards for which HOSPEEM successfully fought include an EU-wide warning system to alert regulators to “rogue” professionals, and tougher language controls to ensure incoming practitioners can communicate well in the host country’s language. In addition there will be speeded-up online procedures for registering certain professionals and changes to minimum training requirements. Read more.

Commission’s consultation on work-life balance

In November 2015 the European Commission launched a first stage consultation of EU social partners on how to improve work-life balance and reduce obstacles to the participation of parents and other people with caring responsibilities in the labour market, especially women. This consultation follows the recent withdrawal of the 2008 Commission's proposal to amend the Maternity Leave Directive. CEEP submitted its reply, incorporating comments made by HOSPEEM members, at the beginning of January.

In complement to this consultation, the Commission launched later on a broad public consultation on work-life balance (open until 17 February 2016) aimed at gathering views on the development and implementation of a range of tools at EU-level to support work-life balance.

Council recommendation on long-term unemployment

During the EPSCO Council on 7 December 2015, the 28 EU Employment and Social Affairs ministers agreed on the Commission's proposal for a Recommendation on the integration of the long-term unemployed into the labour market. Based on the model of the youth initiative (Youth Guarantee), the Recommendation will lead to simplified and more effective access to support for those out of work for long periods. Such support should leave nobody behind and combine active measures, employment services and social support. The agreement underlines in particular the importance of cooperation between Member States and the Commission to best use European structural and investments funds.Read more.

Refugee crisis

Following a call for proposals, the European Commission has granted 5.6 million euros from the EU Health Programme to four health projects supporting EU Member States that are under particular migratory pressure. The actions will involve NGOs, academics, national and local health authorities, as well as international organisations.

The European Parliament has just published a briefing on the current refugee crisis and its public health dimension and consequences. Read more.

Mid-term evaluation of the EU Health Programme 2014-2020 

In early 2016, the European Commission will launch a mid-term evaluation of the 3rd Health Programme 2014-2020 in order to assess the implementation at mid-term of its 23 thematic priorities and their continued relevance to the programme’s objectives. For this purpose, a roadmap has been prepared. A stakeholder consultation will be carried out in autumn 2016.

Working time rules for doctors - Greece in the dock

The European Court of Justice ruled on 23 December that Greece has failed to fulfil its obligations under EU law by not implementing a maximum 48-hour working week and not making provisions for minimum periods of rest for doctors.  The European Commission brought a legal action against Greece at the behest of ten Greek medical associations, on the grounds that doctors were sometimes obliged to work up to 32 hours consecutively. Read more.

Public consultation on the review of the European Disability Strategy

On 22 December 2015, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the mid-term review of the European Disability Strategy. This consultation is aimed at gathering views on the challenges faced by people with disabilities in the EU and on the impact the European Disability Strategy (2010-2020) has had so far. The public consultation is open until 18 March 2016. Read more




01/03/2016: HOSPEEM Steering Committee, Brussels

02/03/2016: Working Group 1/2016 of the HOSPEEM-EPSU Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee, Brussels

03/03/2016: Final meeting of the Steering Group of the OSH project, Brussels. 

Other events:

28/01/2016: DG HOME - European Dialogue on Skills and Migration, Brussels

11/02/2016: DG SANTE workshop “Ticking the Boxes or Improving Healthcare and Patient Safety? – Optimising the CPD of health professionals”, Brussels

16/02/2016: Eurofound social partners lunch debate on the involvement of social partners in the European semester

18-19/02/2016: Third Joint Action Conference - Planning & Educating Health Workforce without Borders, Varna, Bulgaria

17/03/2016: European Commission Expert Group on European health workforce

06-07/04/2016: Workshop of the DG SANTE Study “Support for the definition of core competences for healthcare assistants” (CC4HCA)




Health investments in the EU

The European Commission has recently published a mapping report of the use of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for health investments in the European Union. This report provides an overview of the actions envisaged by Member States in the health sector with the support of ESIF in the programming period 2014-2020. Over 3.891 billion euros will be spent on health infrastructure, 954 million for the use of ICT in health and more than 4 billion will be invested in access to healthcare and active and healthy ageing. Read more.

Working and caring

This Eurofound study highlights the challenges faced by working carers in combining their working life and the care they provide to dependent relatives and presents the types of measures available to help them balance these demands. The report states that a lot remains to be done in all EU countries to enable working carers to remain in the job market while meeting the demands of looking after a relative at home. Read more. An executive summary is also available. 

Developments in working life in Europe

Eurofound has recently published its 2014 annual review “Developments in Working Life in Europe” that provides detailed information about the latest developments in industrial relations and working conditions across the European Union and Norway. The review is divided into the following thematic chapters: Actors and institutions; Collective employment relations; Pay-settings and pay developments; Working time; Individual employment relations; Health and well-being at work; Skills, training and employability; Work organisation and workplace innovation. Read more.

WHO Europe - Core Health Indicators

WHO Europe has recently published the 2015 Core Health Indicators in the WHO European Region. This annual statistical publication provides data of the health situation in the 53 countries of the WHO European Region. The 2015 edition has a special focus on human resources for health. The report underlines that health workforce imbalances and shortages are a major concern in the European Region and that despite a general increase in the number of physicians and nurses over the last years, it is unlikely that it will be stable and sufficient to cover the needs of ageing populations. The report also stresses the large inequalities in the availability of physicians and nurses between countries and the importance of the right skills-mix of health workers for effective and efficient health care delivery. Read more.

OECD - Health at a glance 2015

The new edition of “Health at a Glance: Europe” presents the most recent comparable data on health and health systems in the 34 OECD countries, including the 28 EU Member States. This new edition provides a set of tables summarising the relative strengths and weaknesses of OECD countries on different key indicators of health and health system performance. This edition also contains new indicators on health workforce migration and on the quality of healthcare. Read more.