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European doctors’ recommendations for better health workforce policy

Sarada Das, Deputy Secretary General and Calum MacKichan, Communication Officer, Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME), Belgium

The pandemic has reinforced the debate on the importance of the health workforce. Healthcare systems have repeatedly faced the fact that upscaling capacities may not be restricted so much by funding or availability of equipment, but by the shortage of healthcare professionals. To address some of the most urgent questions around how to develop and improve policy measures, CPME has adopted the CPME Policy on Health Workforce which addresses inter alia, approaches to involving national medical associations in health workforce planning, good practices for improving recruitment and retention, and medical mobility.

Presenting the new policy in a CPME Policy on Health Workforce video, CPME lead on health workforce, Dr Jacques de Haller explains, that “the biggest challenge we may be facing is that medicine is losing its attractiveness as a life-long professional calling”, therefore it is necessary to develop coherent policy responses. One of the suggestions put forward is for the European Commission to issue benchmarks for minimum capacities of health professionals to support member states in meeting safe staffing levels and thereby improving not only patient care but also professional practice. This links to the importance of working conditions, which includes many more variables than remuneration in retaining doctors in medical practice including those in underserved areas. CPME hopes that the experiences of the past few years will drive effective policy action and looks forward to contributing to the debate.