Joint Action Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting

To ensure access to high quality health services, having a health workforce in place with the right numbers, the right skills and in the right places is of key importance. Health workforce planning is therefore necessary for the proper management of a country’s healthcare system.

Over three years the Joint Action, of which the EFN was a partner, and which came to an end in 2016, aimed to improve the capacity for health workforce planning and forecasting by bringing together knowledge and expertise from all over Europe. Launched in April 2013, and bringing together 30 associated and 62 collaborating partners, the Joint Action on Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting (JA EUHWF), led by the Belgian Health Ministry, was seen as crucial to support evidence-based policy and to tackle the expected future health workforce shortage in Europe. Being part of the Action Plan for the EU Health Workforce – Part 1 “Improve workforce planning”, as adopted by the European Commission in 2012, and co-funded by DG SANCO (Santé) – the project was aiming to help countries to move forward on the planning process of health workforce and to prepare the future of the health workforce by creating a platform for collaboration and exchange between Member States. This will help the EU Member States to take effective and sustainable measures in terms of healthcare planning and forecasting.

The Joint Action supported and enabled Member States insofar as they choose to develop and reinforce health workforce forecasting and planning capacity in Member States, share and benchmark practices, results, knowledge and expertise from Member States at a European level, support evidence-based decision making in Member States and at a European level, meet current and future challenges in health care by taking into account demand and supply and aim at sustainability of health systems.

The Joint Action worked towards better understanding of terminology, better monitoring of the health workforce by access to timely data, updated information on mobility and migration trends in the EU, guidelines on quantitative and qualitative health workforce planning methodology, increased quantitative and qualitative planning capacity, estimation of future skills and competencies needed in the health workforce, a platform of cooperation to find possible solutions on the expected shortage of health workforce, and a higher impact of health workforce planning and forecasts on policy decision making.

Results of the Project Work packages:

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