Issue 5 - October 2016 


Dear subscriber subscriber,

During the summer HOSPEEM was very pleased to host a study visit in Brussels from its observer member ASPE from Spain, which was a unique opportunity to exchange information and good practices. In September HOSPEEM actively participated in an international Economic Forum in Poland on the role of employers in the public health system, in a roundtable with EU Commissioner Oettinger on digital skills in Brussels and in a Eurofound expert meeting on private provision of hospital services in Dublin. 

The end of the year will also be exciting for HOSPEEM which will celebrate its 10th anniversary on the occasion of the next General Assembly on December 1st. HOSPEEM was created in 2006 and 10 years is a milestone providing an opportunity to look at all the past achievements, future successes and challenges for the Association. Social partners will also celebrate 10 years of fruitful social dialogue at the plenary meeting of the HOSPEEM-EPSU Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for the Hospital Sector on December 2nd.

In this newsletter, you can find HOSPEEM News, News from the Members, EU News, information on events attended, upcoming events and recent publications. This newsletter has been conceived as an interactive tool to support the exchange of information between our members and giving your organisation’s voice a broader diffusion across Europe. We therefore encourage you to send us your contributions to enrich the future issues.

Enjoy your reading!

Tjitte Alkema

Secretary General of HOSPEEM




Economic Forum – Krynica

Tjitte Alkema, Secretary General of HOSPEEM, was invited to speak in a panel session on “The Role of Employers in the Public Health System” as part of the Healthcare Section of the 26th Economic Forum that took place in Krynica (Poland) from 6 to 8 September. The session had a specific focus on occupational medicine and employees’ health in Poland. Tjitte Alkema particularly stressed the crucial role of employers in preventing absenteeism and in recovering and underlined the importance of not forgetting the responsibility of employees. Read more

DG CONNECT High-level roundtable on digital skills

Tjitte Alkema participated in the high-level roundtable on Digital Skills organised on 20 September by DG CONNECT in presence of Commissioner Oettinger, responsible for the Digital Economy and Society, with European employers and trade unions. In his intervention, Tjitte Alkema put the emphasis on the under representation of older workers in continuing professional training schemes and underlined the missing connection between initial and post initial training. The next step is the official launch of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition on 1st December.

Eurofound expert workshop on private provision of hospital services

On 22 September Eurofound organised in its headquarters in Dublin an expert workshop in the framework of a study on private provision of hospital services. Tjitte Alkema, alongside other European experts, was invited to review the draft consolidated report. Luis Mendicuti, ASPE (Spain), also participated in the meeting. The report will be finalised and made available by the beginning of 2017.

Review process of the DG SANTE CC4HCA draft final report

In early September, HOSPEEM was invited to review the draft version of the final report of the DG SANTE study “Support for the definition of core competences of healthcare assistants” (CC4HCA) following its participation in the workshop organised in Brussels in April in the framework of the study. HOSPEEM and EPSU decided to send a coordinated joint contribution in which they again stressed the EU social partners’ concerns regarding the initiative and the process. Read the joint contribution. 

Adoption of the HOSPEEM-EPSU joint declaration on CPD and LLL

The final version of the HOSPEEM-EPSU joint declaration on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Life-Long-Learning (LLL) was formally adopted in late September. This document is addressed to all workers in the hospital and healthcare sector, irrespective of age, profession and employment contract. It will serve as a source of inspiration and will provide guidance and support to social partners as to their actions in the field of CPD and LLL. HOSPEEM and EPSU will now enquire whether DG SANTE and DG EMPL can endorse this declaration.

HOSPEEM–EPSU OSH project reports translated in FR and DE 

On the dedicated webpage of the OSH project you can now read the two conference reports of the joint HOSPEEM–EPSU project on occupational health and safety risks in English, French and German. Read the reports of the Helsinki and Paris conferences. A summary of the main project results has also been published.



Members’ profile: UNICANCER Federation

The French Federation of Comprehensive Cancer Centers - UNICANCER Federation (Fédération nationale des Centres de lutte contre le cancer) is the French observer member of HOSPEEM. Created in 1964, the UNICANCER Federation is an employer organisation representing 20 Comprehensive Cancer Centers, which are private, non-profit establishments entirely devoted to fighting cancer. The Centers employ about 18 0000 employees and have a threefold mission of patient management, research and teaching. Since 2005 UNICANCER has been recognised as one of the 4 representative hospital federations in France. Read more.

ASPE publishes an interview of HOSPEEM Secretary General, Tjitte Alkema

HOSPEEM Spanish observer member ASPE published an interview of HOSPEEM Secretary General, Tjitte Alkema, in the second edition of their publication Global Salud. The major work areas of HOSPEEM were presented as well as the activities of the European social dialogue in the hospital and healthcare sector. This social dialogue is of crucial importance, particularly given the number of challenges the hospital and healthcare sector faces in Europe. Read the article in Spanish.



DG EMPL video about social dialogue

DG EMPL published in September a 2-minute video about European social dialogue. This brief video explains what EU social dialogue is about, what sectoral and cross-industry social dialogues are, who the EU social partners are and what they do. The video will soon be available also in French and German. Watch the video

EU investment plan and investments in the health sector

On 14 September, during his state of the Union speech, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker proposed to double the EU investment plan to 630 billion euros by 2022. The original investment plan, launched in 2015, had a target to stimulate the European economy by 315 billion euros over three years. During the summer, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank published a fact sheet on mobilising funds for the health sector. The opportunities offered under the Investment Plan for Europe complement the grants and financial instruments provided by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). A fact sheet is available about health investments by ESIF from 2014 to 2020. Read more.

Successive fixed-term contracts in the healthcare sector

In a judgment given on 14 September, the European Court of Justice of the European Union found that the recourse to successive fixed-term contracts to cover permanent needs in the healthcare sector was contrary to EU law. EU law indeed precludes national legislation which allows the renewal of fixed-term contracts to cover temporary staff needs, when those needs are, in fact, permanent. Read more.

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

The EPSCO Council took place on 13 October in Luxembourg. On this occasion, the Council reached agreement on its position on a revised directive protecting workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work. The proposed directive aims at increasing significantly the number of carcinogens for which occupational limit values are set, as compared to those of the 2004 directive. The Council also held a policy debate on the new skills agenda and endorsed the joint opinion of the Employment and Social Protection Committee on the European pillar of social rights which aims at strengthening the focus on employment and social aspects. The European Semester process and the preparations of the Tripartite Social Summit taking place on 19 October were also discussed. Read more about the outcome of the meeting.

Sexual harassment and violence in the workplace

EU-OSHA recently published two infographics, respectively on sexual harassment and third-party violence in the workplace. Both infographics show key data on these issues, explain the concepts and highlight the need to take these issues very seriously. Nurses and other healthcare workers are listed among professions particularly at risk. See more

The state of health and health care in the EU: Data available

DG SANTE has recently published a fact sheet on the European Core Health Indicators (ECHI). They give a broad picture of the state of health and health care in the EU and provide references for EU Member States and other European countries. In order to download more information about ECHI in your country browse the list of indicators and access data via the ECHI Data Tool, on DG SANTE ECHI web page, including bar charts, map charts etc. Read more.

Towards better social statistics for a social Europe

In August 2016 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on new, integrated ways to collect and use data from social surveys. A more solid evidence base in terms of social indicators will improve the analysis of social developments and better support policy making. The proposed framework Regulation will allow data to be published faster as well as increase the comparability and coherence of EU social statistics. Read the press release.



Labour Law Reforms and Social Dialogue in Europe

On 29 September, HOSPEEM participated in the final conference of the DIADSE project "Labour Law Reforms and Social Dialogue in Europe: Comparative Perspectives". This project, led by the Department of Labour Law of the University of Amsterdam, aimed at collecting information on effective approaches of dealing with the impact of the economic crisis and the role of social dialogue and/or changes of labour law to support this. Case studies of several countries show that the economic crisis has resulted in wage freezes (or even reduction of wages) in the public sector, reductions of severance pay arrangements, changes in the labour codes on collective bargaining processes and changes in pension schemes and unemployment benefits. In several EU Member States this process has taken place without any consultation or participation of social partners.

Digital Skills in the Workplace

On 7 October, HOSPEEM took part in a workshop organised in Brussels in the framework of a DG CONNECT study “ICT for work: digital skills in the workplace”. This study, whose interim findings were presented during the workshop, aims at collecting evidence on the digital skills required by enterprises and on digital skills gaps in the EU and at exploring the impact of digitalisation on quality of work. 



01/12/2016 : HOSPEEM Steering Committee, Administration Council & General Assembly

02/12/2016: HOSPEEM – EPSU Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Hospital Sector Plenary Meeting

Other events:

24-28 October 2016: European Week for Safety and Health at Work
23 November 2016:  Cross-industry social partners’ conference on EU funding for investment in education and training
5-9 December 2016 : European Vocational Skills Week



Hospital expenditure - Cost-containment policies: a discussion paper by DG ECFIN

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) has recently published a discussion paper that summarises documented evidence on a number of policies to contain costs in the hospital sector, hospital care being the core expenditure item of health systems. The author stresses the need to address the twin objectives of containing costs and ensuring high access and quality of services as health expenditure will continue rising. The paper underlines that the EU can play a supportive role in helping to identify the right tools for hospital reform through the economic governance, policy advice, exchange of best practices and providing funding for investments in the sector. In parallel DG ECFIN published a graph about efficient hospital spending in the EU. Read more.

A policy paper on sustainability of European health systems by the European Policy Center 

The European Policy Center has recently published a policy paper about the sustainability of European health systems. It discusses the emerging trends and challenges that are likely to have an increasing impact on health systems and EU citizens in the next decades. It calls for the EU to recognise the value of health, consider health across policies, and collaborate and use the available instruments when it brings added value to Member States and citizens. Read more.

EC strategy on E-health

The European Commission's DG CONNECT and DG SANTE have jointly published a leaflet on eHealth. This leaflet presents the challenges faced by EU health systems and describes the European Commission’s strategy, actions and tools in the field of eHealth, as well as the expected benefits. Read more.

OSH promotion for older workers article - Institute of Occupational Medicine 

As more workers are passing their 50th birthday – an estimated 2 billion people will do so by 2050 – employers are becoming increasingly concerned with keeping older workers in work. In this OSHwiki article, researchers at the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) have taken a look at occupational safety and health promotion focused on older workers. Some of the expected negative effects of ageing are demonstrated, such as a decrease in muscle strength, grip and hearing, while other common assumptions are disproven (for example, there is limited evidence that shoulder and neck pain increase with age, but rather due to work conditions or bad posture). This article provides advice on the adequate physical and mental stimulation for workers and tips on planning intervention initiatives. Read more.

EC report on medicine safety in the EU

The European Commission published in August a report on the activities of the Member States and the European Medicines Agency to monitor the safety of medicines throughout their life cycle, as foreseen by the 2010 amendment to the EU legislation on pharmacovigilance from 2001 and 2004. The report describes the activities of the collaborative EU system for monitoring and controlling the safety of human medicines between 2012 and July 2015. The report concludes that the European pharmacovigilance network is an example of successful cooperation at EU level that directly benefits patients. Read more.

EC Report on Antimicrobial resistance

In September 2016 the European Commission published a report on the implementation of the Council recommendation of 15 November 2001 (2002/77/EC) on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine. Previous reports issued in 2005 and in 2010 had highlighted the need for improvement in many sectors. This third report provides information on actions to improve and assess antimicrobial prescribing practices in the hospital sector and in primary care. Download the report