On 2 February 2022, the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) and the European Health Management Association (EHMA) launched a Joint Statement ‘Strengthening the EU’s competitiveness in health requires an increased investment in the workforce and governance’. The statement highlights the importance of investing in public health governance, listening to the needs of the health workforce, as well as empowering and involving patients in the decision-making processes. Additionally, the statement underlines the need to build health systems that are resilient and flexible.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on countries’ economies and growth, relaunching the EU’s competitiveness became high on the agenda. During the State of the Union Speech on 15 September 2021, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen underlined that the digital policy, health and energy sector will be crucial for the EU’s COVID-19 recovery and increasing the EU’s competitiveness both within and outside its borders.
To explore how to move forward, the Institute for Competitiveness hosted a digital symposium on 11 January 2022 entitled ‘EU’s Path to Competitiveness. How Digital, Energy and Health can lead the Way Forward’. EHMA’s Executive Director, Mr George Valiotis, spoke at the second panel which looked at the EU’s preparedness for future health crises and the European Health Union. Welcoming the progress on the European Health Union, he highlighted the need to involve patients in the decision-making processes, listen to the needs of the health workforce, invest in public health governance, and work towards health systems that are resilient and flexible. The importance of valuing the health workforce at its real value, empowering patients, and building strong public health governance was also strongly emphasised by a guest speaker Ms Dineke Zeegers Paget, Executive Director at EUPHA.
Seeing that the health workforce takes the centre stage in the discussion on the EU’s preparedness for future challenges, EHMA and EUPHA have launched a Joint Statement to underline that increased investment in the workforce and governance are essential for strengthening the EU’s competitiveness in health.