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Public Health
News announcement9 January 2015Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety

Anticipating future skills needs – page updated

Anticipating future skills needs – page updated

Anticipating future skills needs for health professionals is crucial to meet the new demands of health care, for example:

  • the shift from care in hospitals to the provision of care closer to home - to cope with elderly patients with multiple chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • the growth of new technologies, new medical appliances and diagnostic techniques which requires technical know-how in addition to clinical knowledge
  • the expansion of e-health, which enables distant diagnostics services, requires new ways of working.

Network to develop core competences for Healthcare assistants (HCA)

Under the Public Health Programme 2014, CHAFEA (the European Commission's Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency) awarded the tender CHAFEA/2014/Health/04 to the consortium CC4HCA. This consortium is led by NIVEL and has KU Leuven and CHHCP as main project partners. The project 'Core Competences for HealthCare Assistants: Towards a common training framework' has kick off in March 2015. More information can be found here.

Continuous Professional Development of Health Professionals in the EU

Continuous professional development (CPD) and life-long learning (LLL) have become cornerstones of professional practice across all qualifications. The Commission's Action Plan for the EU health workforce addresses CPD as a tool to safeguard patient safety within the context of cross-border mobility of health professionals and patients in the EU.

This study, funded under the EU Health Programme, comprises a unique mapping and review of continuous professional development and lifelong learning for doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives and pharmacists in the 28 member countries of the EU and EFTA countries.

Pilot network of nurse educators and regulators

The pilot network examined the scope of skills and competences of healthcare assistants for potential uptake in national education and training programmes. The report can be found here.

Sector skills alliance

Sector Skills Alliances will work to design and deliver joint vocational training programmes and teaching and training methodologies.
ECVET for Elderly Care (EFEC) is the first pilot Sector Skills Alliance (SSA) in the health and care sector. This transnational partnership of organisations from six EU countries aims to improves the comparability, transparency and mutual recognition of qualifications of carers applying the ECVET principles.

Erasmus+ 2015 has opened a call for further sector skills alliances in the health and care sector with a deadline of 26 February 2015.

The capacity of health systems to deliver health services and meet the changing demands of care strongly depends on the availability of a workforce with the right skills and flexibility. Health systems that support high levels of initial education and training, as well as consistent investment in continuous professional development, are better equipped to develop innovative and integrated solutions to respond to the major challenges that the EU is facing.


The State of the Health in the EU and its companion report highlight the importance of promoting reforms aimed at tackling critical health workforce issues such as supply, distribution and a traditional skill mix, in order to strengthen prevention, primary care and integrated service delivery.


The European Commission encourages EU-wide activities in health workforce planning and forecasting, so as to support EU countries in applying theory to practice in building national capacities.

Since 2012, it has contributed to addressing the challenges and demands through the following initiatives:

SEPEN - Support for the health workforce planning and forecasting expert network (2017 – 2018)

Expertise and knowledge sharing on improving health workforce is to be driven through SEPEN, an expert network on planning and forecasting, the latest action supported by the EU's Health programme.

Building on the previous work of the Joint Action for health workforce planning and forecasting (2013-2016), this action aims to:

  • Develop expert networking to structure and exchange knowledge and provide a forum to address health workforce challenges
  • Map national health workforce policies in all EU countries
  • Foster the exchange of knowledge and good practices on health workforce through European workshops
  • Provide tailored support to some countries on national implementation of health workforce planning
  • Publicise and document these actions on the website.

Joint Action Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting (2013 – 2016)

The Commission's joint action on workforce planning and forecasting financed under the Health Programme, had 30 associated partners and 34 collaborative partners from 28 European countries working together on advancing the issue.

Action plan for EU health workforce (2012)

In order to address these challenges and boost employment, an action plan was drawn up by the European Commission in 2012 to encourage EU countries to work together to:

  • Improve health workforce planning and forecasting
  • Anticipate future skills needs and improving continuous professional development.


Publication date
9 January 2015
Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety