A step forward towards essential skills for a resilient and effective health workforce

20 February 2023

Member organisations of the EU Health Policy Platform Stakeholder Network on ‘Profiling and Training the Healthcare Workforce of the Future’, under the leadership of EHMA and HFE, participated in a consultation meeting on 17 February to explore collaboration opportunities and seek synergies in order to support the implementation of the recommendations included in the Network’s report ‘Essential skills for a resilient and effective European health workforce’, published in September 2022.

These recommendations highlight how the healthcare workforce can best be supported to acquire essential skills needed to cope with the main healthcare challenges of the 21st century such as the green and digital transition, workforce shortages, ageing societies, and a raising number of non-communicable diseases. These include . A starting point to address the main healthcare challenges is by tackling the urgent need for health workforce upskilling and reskilling. However, given the complexity of the health sector issues, upskilling and reskilling turn out to be a rather demanding task. To succeed, these initiatives will need to take into consideration several crucial and sensitive factors including the necessity to build efficient health labour market policies that address the health workforce challenges and respond to the high demand for health professionals. Learning opportunities provided to health professionals should be aligned with their needs and facilitate their entering and staying in the health and care sector labour market with a high level of performance.

To support the implementation of the Calls to Action detailed within the report, EHMA elaborated on two of our EU-funded projects and their respective activities in line with the recommendations. The EUVECA project will set up seven vocational excellence hubs in seven European regions which will collaborate in a European Platform. The vocational excellence hubs will be committed to enabling health professionals to embark on digital transformation and cope with the changes due to the adoption of digitised processes and digital technologies. The BeWell project will develop a green and digital skills strategy for the health workforce that can be implemented at local, regional, national, and ultimately European level through the Pact for Skills. The project stresses existing skill mismatches and promotes the competencies necessary to overcome them. Appropriate levels of health management could encourage the upskilling and reskilling of health workforce in a way that fits better their needs and competencies. Thus, the health workforce will be better prepared to face future challenges and adapt to ever-evolving societal contexts.

Network members spoke of dozens of relevant actions, activities and events that make part of their organisational work plans for 2023 among which, for instance, mental well-being monitoring of health professionals; updating existing and outdated curricula and educational programmes; and improving the digital skills of the health workforce. Organisations may still put forward ideas and offers while EHMA and HFE will facilitate coordination between these activities and will ensure that relevant outcomes feed into the implementation report of the Stakeholder Network for this year.

Shall you wish to be part of this network, cooperate and exchange with enthusiastic peers who are committed to making a change for the future health workforce, please register to our Network and get engaged in future initiatives.


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What our Members say

I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.

Prof. Federico Lega, University of Milan, Italy

Health management has a crucial function in shaping public health and health system challenges. The Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria had success in collaborating with EHMA on EU-funded projects that has resourced us to create new health management competencies for the future workforce. In addition to all classical definitions, health management is a science dealing with individuals, groups, and society at large. It is an art contributing to the beauty of our lives and an interactive communication process at all levels of institutions and human energy. I have also had the pleasure to chair the South Eastern European Special Interest Group which gives members a space to discuss and tools to address how health systems are managed in our regions.

Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria

I enjoy the high level of interaction and engagement in EHMA’s activities, in particular during the annual conference where the panel discussions are rich and well prepared. As a hospital manager and professor of health management, EHMA motivates and inspires me to be creative. You go back home feeling energised from seeing old friends and making new connections, as well as being convinced of serving as EHMA’s ambassador. It’s a strong feeling of interdisciplinary engagement, but it also feels like being part of family-like community.

Prof. Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta

EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.

Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK

Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.

Dr Eszter Kovács, Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University, Hungary

As a hospital administrator and health management professor, I see on a daily basis that the healthcare challenges require talented and skilled managers to transform it. the EHMA membership has been beneficial to bring healthcare management research and education to the demanding healthcare services world, promoting healthcare management competencies and knowledge creation.

Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal

Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.

Prof. Ann Mahon, University of Manchester, UK

Society evolution, pandemics and ageing modify health needs. So, health policies and services are to change dramatically. EHMA, through webinars, workshops and annual conference provides an excellent insight to a professional changing world, favouring closeness to management innovation and the protagonists of these changes. As a primary care services’ manager, participating in EHMA activities is really worth it and allows to involve oneself in the innovation processes.

Dr Antoni Peris Grao, Consorci Castelldefels Agents de Salut (CASAP), Spain