Health workforce

The capacity of health systems to deliver health services and meet the changing demands of care strongly depends on the availability of a workforce with the right skills and flexibility. Health systems that support high levels of initial education and training, as well as consistent investment in continuous professional development, are better equipped to develop innovative and integrated solutions to respond to the major challenges they face.

The EU has published a report highlighting the importance of promoting reforms aimed at tackling critical health workforce issues such as supply, distribution and a traditional skill mix, in order to strengthen prevention, primary care and integrated service delivery.

To read the full report ‘The State of Health in the EU’ on the European Commission website go to https://ec.europa.eu/health/state/summary_en

Spending hours sitting in meetings? Consult WHO’s new guide to planning healthy and sustainable meetings

“We somehow consider meetings to be an exception to the general healthy lifestyle we try to follow,” says Dr João Breda, Head of the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases and Programme Manager ad interim of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at WHO/Europe. “But this is mostly because the way they are organised often doesn’t give us much of a choice. Making meetings healthier does not have to be complicated or expensive – and often makes them more enjoyable.”

To read WHO’s guide on planning healthy and sustainable meetings go to: WHO/Europe | Obesity – Spending hours sitting in meetings? Consult WHO’s new guide to planning healthy and sustainable meetings

Promoting mental health in the workplace

25% of European citizens will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. Absenteeism, unemployment and long-term disability claims due to work-related stress and mental health problems are increasing. Promoting good mental health at the workplace, not only helps protect employee’s mental and physical health and wellbeing, but also makes good business sense. A new European Commission document provides guidance for employers, employees and other stakeholders on the management of mental health issues in the workplace

To read the document go to: Publications catalogue – Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion – European Commission

Multidisciplinary primary care teams in Spain 

Multidisciplinary care is a game-changing approach, considered an alternative to traditional institutionalised care. It makes the best use of the skills mix of the health workforce: multiprofile teams include family doctors, paediatricians, dentists, primary care nurses, nurse aides, social workers and health administrative staff. Health workers interact closely with patients and families, draw up patient-specific treatment plans and share responsibility for decisions on the patient’s health.

Since introducing these multiprofessional teams, Spain has seen a continuous improvement in the management of noncommunicable diseases, particularly diabetes mellitus and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The country now plans to link these multidisciplinary care teams with social services and emergencies, further improving the delivery of person-centred care.

To read more about this go to: http://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/events/events/2018/04/high-level-regional-meeting-health-systems-respond-to-ncds-experience-in-the-european-region/news/news/2018/04/multidisciplinary-primary-care-teams-in-spain-provide-person-centred-care?utm_source=WHO%2FEurope+mailing+list&utm_campaign=08b361b014-News_highlights_January_2018&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_60241f4736-08b361b014-93292493

EMPOWERCARE

EMPOWERing individuals and communities to manager their own CARE 

The 2Seas area is facing a common problem: rising demand for health and social care services by our growing older population creating a pressing need to find new approaches. In 2013 the over 65s made up 18.2% of the European population; 19.4% in France, 18.6% in Belgium, 18.7% in the Netherlands and 18.2 % in the UK. These figures are set to rise to a staggering 28.7% on average by 2080. With the cost of care for older people increasing it is necessary to integrate these groups more closely with their communities, keeping them healthier and in their own homes safely for longer. The challenge facing the 2Seas area is that we will run out of resources if we don’t change the ways citizens are involved in their own health and wellbeing.

Protecting workers against cancer-causing chemicals

The European Commission is proposing to limit workers’ exposure to five cancer-causing chemicals, in addition to the 21 substances that have already been limited or proposed to be limited. Estimates show that this proposal would improve working conditions for over 1,000,000 EU workers and prevent over 22,000 cases of work-related illness.

The following five carcinogens of high relevance for the protection of workers have been selected:

  • Cadmium and its inorganic compounds;
  • Beryllium and inorganic beryllium compounds;
  • Arsenic acid and its salts, as well as inorganic arsenic compounds;
  • Formaldehyde;
  • 4,4′-Methylene-bis(2-chloroaniline) (MOCA).

To read more about protecting workers against cancer-causing chemicals, go to: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-2662_en.htm

Helping people with chronic disease stay in the workforce

People with long-term health problems are at higher risk of poverty, social exclusion, severe material deprivation and unemployment. The rising prevalence of chronic diseases coupled with economic uncertainty exacerbates the problem.

Innovative strategies are needed to help people with chronic diseases to remain professionally active. In 2015, in response, the Commission co-funded the PATHWAYS Project – “Participation To Healthy Workplaces And inclusive Strategies in the Work Sector”. It identified integration and re-integration strategies that are available in Europe for people with chronic diseases and aimed to determine their effectiveness, to assess specific employment-related needs of people with chronic diseases and to develop guidelines to help implement effective professional integration and reintegration strategies.

To read more go to: Health-EU Newsletter 210 – Focus – European Commission

Learning from Ireland: expanding the role of nurses and midwives to improve health outcomes

A survey that included 32 countries in Europe in 2015 found that more than two thirds had extended the official scopes of practice of nurses in primary care. Ireland is one of those countries. 

As of April 2016, a total of 894 nurses and midwives in the country were registered to prescribe medicinal products. This includes 193 advanced nurse practitioners in 53 specialties and 8 advanced midwife practitioners in 6 specialties, all registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland. It is not necessary to be an advanced practitioner to prescribe. 

While the overall number of prescribing nurses and midwives has remained small in numerical terms since the introduction of the regulations in 2008, the impact has been significant. An independent evaluation reported that expanding nurse roles in Ireland has led to, among other things: 

  • improved continuity of patient care;
  • reduced admission rates;
  • reduced workload of doctors;
  • reduced waiting times for services;
  • improved family and carer satisfaction; and
  • increased professional development and satisfaction of nurses and midwives

To read more about expanding the role of nurses and midwives on the WHO Europe website go to: WHO/Europe | Health workforce – Learning from Ireland: expanding the role of nurses and midwives to improve health outcomes

Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health

The Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health will be held on 13–17 November 2017, in Dublin, Ireland with the theme: building the health workforce of the future. The Forum welcomes participation from representatives in the education, health, labour/employment and finance sectors. The Forum will feature high-impact decision-makers, leaders and investors representing all stakeholder groups to discuss and debate innovative approaches towards advancing the implementation of the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 and the recommendations of the United Nations High level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth.

For more information about the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health on the who.int website.

Youth in Health in Action

The European Solidarity Corps offers young Europeans from 18 to 30 years old the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives. Aiming for 100,000 placements by 2020, NGOs, Member State authorities and other organisations can offer quality placements for volunteering, traineeships or jobs.

Health is an integral part of this initiative. There are many ways young people could play a part in health projects, making use of their skills be it language, communication, IT or medical skills. If you have ideas and projects which you think could provide young people from the Solidarity Corps with opportunities to learn and demonstrate solidarity, the Corps would like to hear from you.

For more information on the European Solidarity Corps on the ec.europa.eu website