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Workshop: Towards an integrative European perspective on health human resources policy: how and why?

Batenburg, R., Kuhlmann, E. Workshop: Towards an integrative European perspective on health human resources policy: how and why? European Journal of Public Health: 2013, 23(Suppl. 1), p. 81. Abstract. 6th European Public Health Conference: Health in Europe: are we there yet? Learning from the past, building the future. 13-16 November 2013, Brussel.
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Background: Across many countries, shortages and inefficient use of qualified healthcare staff – together with changes in the composition of the health professional workforce by age, gender and citizenship – have created an urgent call for health human resources policy, planning and management. In Europe, it is expected that the healthcare sector will be confronted with a shortage of one to two million of healthcare professionals by 2020. Also, the future skill-mix is expected to be incongruent with the development of healthcare needs due to demographic, epidemiological and socio-cultural developments. At the same time, the size and composition of the health workforce are also changing as a result of changing gender relations, intra-European mobility, migration and professional, organisational and technological developments. For many countries this implies that a quantitative and qualitative match between healthcare demand and supply will be increasingly difficult (if not impossible) to achieve and to sustain. The scenarios have rung the bells of several European policymakers, professionals and researchers. While countries can obviously learn from each other in this, European exchange or a European approach to health human resources (HHR) is still poorly developed and no comprehensive data and monitoring systems exist. Objectives and Methods: This proposed Workshop seeks to contribute to the debates by providing an overview of the field of HHR and by developing a European integrative lens to the health human resources debate. More specifically, the presentations invited for this Workshop address issues of policy, management and planning of HHR and take different dimensions, levels and areas of change in the demand and supply of the health professional workforce into account. Results: The planned workshop papers provide both fresh conceptual approaches and in-depth empirical research that help to develop a strategic, integrated European perspective on HHR. An important goal of the workshop is to bridge the many different HHR policies and planning systems in Europe, and explore how national and European solutions can be related efficiently. The presentations also highlight the urgent need for action and a way forward for an integrative HHR policy in Europe. Key message: This Workshops initiates an integrative European approach based on in-depth empirical research to develop sustainable solutions for health human resources in a diverse, yet connected Europe.