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Winds of change:
towards new ways of improving public health in Europe

Ljubljana, Slovenia
28 November - 1 December 2018


Stockholmsmässan, Stockholm


Creating a sustainable people-centred health workforce in Europe: how to make it happen?


Organised by

Proposed EUPHA section Health workforce research, in collaboration with European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, OECD, and WHO Regional Office for Europe


The importance of a people-centred and sustainable health workforce is increasingly recognised in Europe. Data sources and planning systems have improved on national/regional and European level. There is now better knowledge on what should be done to respond to changing population needs more effectively. However, it is not well understood how to make this happen. For instance, none of the European countries has sufficiently prepared their workforces to effectively responded to the demographic change and the increase of chronic diseases and multi-morbidity. In many countries a sustainable health workforce is challenged by demographic developments and by geographic maldistribution, and in some countries it is threatened by the effects of austerity politics. Professional ‘silo’ approaches remain dominant and consequently, coordination and integration within and between healthcare systems, sectors, providers and professional groups are weak. 

Organisation and aims of the pre-conference

The pre-conference will be organised by the EUPHA Working Group ‘Health Workforce Research’ of HSR section in collaboration with the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, the OECD and the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The aim is to exchange knowledge, identify relevant gaps in research and stimulate critical debate on how to create an integrated, people-centred and sustainable health workforce. More specifically, the pre-conference seeks to clarify three main questions: (1) how to provide supportive policy and research frameworks, (2) how to prepare health professionals and organisations and plan for a sustainable integrated health workforce, and (3) how to practice skill-mix changes and a people-centred health workforce? 

Policy relevance

The pre-conference will improve knowledge and perspectives for better health workforce governance and facilitate translation of research evidence into policy and practice. It will contribute new knowledge about health workforce innovation and effective policy implementation. Furthermore, the event will strengthen networking across countries and health workforce research, policymaking and practice.


The pre-conference will present latest health workforce research in Europe. The sessions are built around the three major themes – provide frameworks, prepare and plan, and practice a people-centred health workforce – and a break-out session. The preconference will follow an interactive workshop style with a mix of session formats and time for discussion (at least half of the overall time). Session 1 opens the box with an expert panel
followed by a plenary discussion. Session 2 and 3 include short keynote statements on latest research findings and policy models followed by a facilitated discussion. Session 4 concludes with working groups and summing-up statements. For all sessions, participants are invited to actively contribute to the discussion; preparatory material will be circulated prior to the event.


9.00-10.30 Session I
Providing frameworks: how can research and policy support the creation of an integrated, sustainable and people-centred health workforce?
Session I opens the debate with an expert panel exploring how policy and research frameworks can support the creation of a people-centred health workforce. What action has been taken to better respond to changing population needs, to labour market conditions, and to health workforce needs, and what is planned in future? The session will promote critical debate to develop supportive frameworks for implementing new health workforce policies.


Plenary discussion

11.00-12.30 Session II
Preparing and planning a sustainable and competent health workforce Session II explores how to educate health professionals and continuously develop their competencies, and how to monitor, plan and organise an integrated and people-centred health workforce. The session will among others discuss options for overcoming ‘professional silos’ and for improving integrated and team-based approaches and effective skill-mixes in both education and monitoring/planning. This will help to prepare the individual health workers as well as the organisations, health systems and policymakers to better respond to changing population needs.

Keynote statements:

Plenary discussion

13.30-15.00 Session III
Practicing an integrated, people-centred health workforce Session III looks at health workforce innovation and facilitators of skill-mix changes. It explores integrated and transsectoral approaches and developments in Europe. Selected illustrative case studies complement the picture by setting the focus on currently under-researched areas: the integration of health and social care in high-resourced healthcare systems, and the sustainability of future health workforces in poorly-resourced central-eastern European countries. The discussion will improve knowledge exchange on health workforce innovation and explain best-practice examples and facilitators as well as challenges.

Keynote statements:

Plenary discussion

15.30-17.00 Session IV
Making change happen: how to create an integrated, sustainable and people-centred health workforce?
Session IV is built on facilitated working groups to bring together and critically review the previous results and to discuss conclusions for health workforce policy, research and practice.

Summary statements will suggest ways to improve governance, leadership and capacity building for an integrated, sustainable and people-centred health workforce in Europe. This session will move the health workforce debate further and contribute new knowledge on governance and policy implementation, that will help countries in Europe to respond to the health workforce challenges more effectively. 
Facilitated Working Groups built on sessions 1 to 3, followed by a plenary discussion and summing up.

17.00 Closing comment

Ellen Kuhlmann, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany/Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

This pre-conference is sponsored by WHO Regional Office for Europe.


The registration fee is € 70 which includes networking lunch and refreshments.