European Patients’ Rights Day: Addressing skills shortage, medical desertification and job strain

Ahead of European Patients’ Rights Day, Mariano Votta, Director of Active Citizenship Network, discusses how the event will tackle the skills shortage, medical desertification and job strain in the healthcare sector.

When it comes to public health, in the run-up to the elections, the European institutions are called upon to make a great effort of coherence and credibility towards the European citizens to keep moving closer to a European Health Union despite having recently cut €1bn in resources earmarked for it, as set out in the budget review recently approved by the Union.

How can European institutions contribute to making the health services of member states more resilient if funds for crisis preparedness programmes for national health systems are cut?

A second element of great concern is the shortage of health personnel in terms of workforce shortages and skills gaps. In Italy, for example, according to data recently published by the Gimbe Foundation, there is a shortage of more than 3,100 general practitioners, with the most critical situations in the large northern regions.

However, the phenomenon is not limited to one country; it affects the European Union as a whole. In this regard, in the context of the European Year of Skills, the Commission’s Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) Report 2023  provides insights into persistent labour shortages and skills gaps in the EU.