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Sectoral social dialogue - Hospitals and healthcare

Social partners

Employees' organisations Employers' organisations
European Federation of Public Service Unions European Hospital and Healthcare Employers Association

Hospitals employ more than 3.5 million workers in Europe. Challenges to the sector include recruitment (including cross-border) and retention of workers, the ageing workforce, the development of new skills to respond to patients' mobility and increasing demands for high-quality healthcare services.

The EU's population is ageing: by 2020, there will be 40% more people aged 75 and above compared to 1990. The ageing population will require more and better health services. The development of medical technologies will also have an increasing impact on health services in future.

Overall, the health of Europeans has never been better. Infant mortality has fallen sharply in recent years and life expectancy at birth has increased. EU countries have also implemented a wide range of structural reforms and cost containment measures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their health systems.

Focus areas

The social partners are currently focusing on:

  • strengthening hospital and healthcare social-dialogue structures
  • creating specific instruments to face the challenges of an ageing work force
  • new skill needs
  • reconciliation of work and family life with a specific focus on work organisation

Activities and meetings

Check the library entries for this sectoral social dialogue committee.


  • Guidelines on active ageing (2012)
  • Framework of Action on Recruitment and Retention (2010)
  • Guidelines to tackle third-party violence and harassment related to work (2010)
  • Framework agreement on the prevention of sharps (2009)
  • Code of Conduct on Ethical Cross- Border Recruitment and Retention (2008)

See also "European sectoral social dialogue – recent developments" (2010 brochure).