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Public Health (18-04-2012)

Action Plan for the EU health workforce adopted as part of the Commission Communication for a job rich recovery in Europe

On April 18 2012, the Commission adopted a Communication "Towards a job rich recovery" which sets out a range of measures to encourage employment and strengthen economic growth in Europe. It also identifies healthcare as one of three key sectors with a high employment potential and includes an Action Plan for the EU health workforce. (see IP /2012/380).

Healthcare is highly labour intensive and one of the largest sectors in the EU, accounting for about 17 million or 8% of all jobs in the EU. Despite the economic downturn, the sector continues to grow and, with an ageing population and the rising demand for healthcare, will remain a key driver for jobs with an estimated 8 million job openings between 2010-2020.

However, the sector faces major challenges at a time of severe budget constraints, including health workforce shortages and skill mismatches in many countries. (see accompanying staff working document annexed to the Communication)

The Action Plan aims to assist Member States to tackle these challenges and sets out actions to foster European cooperation and share good practice to help improve health workforce planning and forecasting, to anticipate future skills needs, to improve the recruitment and retention of health professionalswhile mitigating the negative effects of migration on health systems.


The Action Plan for the EU health workforce was announced in the Commission Communication "an Agenda for new skills and jobs" in November 2010. The actions proposed reflect the priorities identified by EU health ministers in December 2010 and build on feedback from the Commission's public consultation on the Green Paper European Workforce for Health in 2008.

For access to the Communication and to the staff working document on the action plan for the EU Health workforce, please click HERE.