IFMSA at the Third Conference of the Joint Action Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting

There can be no health and no healthcare system without the right number of health workers with the right skills and in the right place. The European commission fosters cooperation within the EU to tackle health workforce planning challenges such as imbalances and skills mismatches through its Action plan for the EU health workforce.

On February 18th-19th, organizations and experts from across Europe came together for the third conference from the Joint Action Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting, focussing on planning and Educating Health Workforce without Borders. IFMSA Regional Director for Europe and Liaison Officer for Medical Education issues were present as speakers covering the perspective of medical students worldwide.

Human Resources for Health considers the dilemma of ensuring that every person, anywhere in the world, will have access to the necessary amount, quality and type of health worker, and is an essential topic to address when discussing Universal Health Coverage. Mobility of health workers within europe as well as globally is a reality, however we have to work to mitigate its negative effects on health.

Free movement of people is a fundamental principle, it offers many professionals valuable training and job opportunities. Health professionals among those, are the most mobile. At the same time the European Commission recognizes the high outflow that affects access to care. Its also leading to a waste of public money and medical training, which undermines the health system. The Study on Recruitment & Retention showed undoubtedly that salaries are a motive to move, but also that good working conditions as well as learning opportunities and career progression are crucial to retain health workers. ? Caroline Hager, European Commision.

The IFMSA presented two sessions during the conference:

– What are the favourable conditions for healthcare students to study and get a steady employment in home country?. In these sessions, we highlighted the Human Resources for Health action frameworks, predicted shortages and imbalances in the health workforce, different types and reasons for migration, recruitment and retention strategies and the WHO code of practice on ethical recruitment.

– How to match medical students aspirations and a planned amount of professional positions?. IFMSA discussed the topic of social accountability ? what makes medical students want to practice in the first place, and what if they feel they are not reaching these goals? How can we ensure the quality of education as well as the proper working and learning conditions for students so that they feel prepared to impact their communities in the most positive way. We expressed our worries about the number of faculties worldwide that do not live up to the World Federation for Medical Education quality assurance standards. And finally, how do we change the way we look at assessment and recognition of student activities to shape their ambitions to match tomorrows challenges?

The conference was one of the final steps within the Joint action. By may 2016, the joint action will put forward the final set of recommendations asking for sustained effort and practical proposals.

Further reading


Regional Director for Europe (Diogo Silva): [email protected]

Liaison Officer for Medical Education issues (Stijntje Dijk): [email protected]


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