Make health great again and the elephant in the room

With the slogan ‘Make Health Great Again’, the European Health Parliament (EHP) gathered this week to discuss health workforce planning in the European Union. Wemos was present at EHP’s closing session.

Among other topics, EHP also debated on health workforce mobility in the EU.  “In the last decade, we saw a spread of healthcare professionals, mostly from Eastern European countries to either the West or the North. Young professionals tend to leave more often their country of origin which results in lack of local healthcare professionals in many areas. Moreover, it leads to the waste of local resources and threatens the sustainability as such”, EHP indicates.


Free mobility

The Health Workforce Planning Committee, as part of the EHP, strongly believes in incentives in order to keep professionals in their country of origin. Not by means of prohibiting free mobility of people, but by making sure that professionals are stimulated to stay. Policy recommendations of the Committee are therefore linked to creating an attractive national working climate for the health workforce in every EU member state.


Adequate data

Likewise, policy interventions can only be successful if based on adequate data. Data about health workforce mobility is still scattered, often difficult to access or simply not available. The Committee therefore recommends the European Commission to centralise, standardise and complete data collection in order to obtain clear information on stock, intra-EU mobility and external mobility. Information exchange between member states is key.


Balance access to health workers

Linda Mans (Wemos’ global health advocate): “I notice similarities between challenges in the EU and African Region. Last week I visited our colleagues of the Health Systems Advocacy Partnership in Kenya. One of the main challenges in both regions is how to balance undersupplied and oversupplied areas in terms of healthcare workforce.”



Elephant in the room

“But learning from the African and European context”, Linda continues, “and to really make health great again, and to leave no-one behind, we need a dialogue about the elephant in the room: the flexibility of fiscal space required to invest in public goods such as health workforce employment. That is paramount to counteract widening disparities between health systems both in the EU and beyond.”


Read more about our project Health worker mobility

Read more about Health Systems Advocacy Partnership (HSAP)

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