113th General Assembly of the European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN)Posted on October 15, 2021
The EFN National Nurses Associations, representing 3 million EU nurses, met virtually on 14 October for the Autumn EFN General Assembly.
The EFN Members had the opportunity to discuss the current EU challenges with Maya Matthews and Dirk Van Den Steen, DG Santé (B1), with a focus on the recovery and resilience plans, and the initiatives incorporated in the plans for the health care systems, and for nurses, in all the EU Member States. The COVID-19 pandemic reaffirmed the value of well prepared and educated nurses and their critical impact on lower mortality rates and better patient outcomes. It is therefore crucial that the EU Member States invest in nursing and strategies for recruitment and retention which is a vital pillar to ensuring the building of a healthier, safer, fairer, resilient, and more sustainable health systems.
This meeting also welcomed Vytenis Andriukaitis, former Commissioner for health, on the conference on the future of the Union, recognised as an unprecedented pan-European and multilingual democratic exercise, and a unique and timely opportunity for European citizens, including the voices of nurses and women, to debate on Europe’s challenges and inform the priorities and strategic direction for the future and ensuring that the European Union that is fit-for-practice.
In addition, as part of EFN Strategic and Operational Lobby Plan 2021-2027, the EFN Members shared information on nurses and National Nurses Associations leadership and actions on planetary health, at national level. Many initiatives were reported around the EU, with nurses having a key role to play in the co-design and implementation of planetary health solutions. The European Union decision-makers should therefore facilitate and support the contribution of nurses in the mitigation of and adaptation to both local and global environmental changes (Green Deal).
Challenges for the healthcare systems all over Europe cannot be underestimated, that has been further impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The EFN Members reaffirmed their commitment and determination to ensure that EFN EU policy agenda priorities on education, workforce, quality and safety, remain high on national and EU political agendas. In this process, the EFN Members’ opinions, priorities, expertise, and solutions are essential to inform and shape the EFN lobby actions towards the EU Institutions in co-designing health and social policies that impact positively on citizens, patients and nurses.