The EFN welcomes the publication of the World Health Organization’s latest workforce report, which reveals nurses shortages that WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge describes as a ‘ticking time-bomb’! The Health and Care Workforce in Europe: Time to Act report highlights the EFN concerns addressed towards the EU Institutions and WHO Europe since the financial and economic crisis in 2009, and made even worse with the COVID19 pandemic. Nurses are leaving the profession massively, creating a human resource pandemic. It is not anymore about the intention to leave the profession, but a silent resignation. Post Covid19, it impossible to stay in the profession.
Looking at the Ten-Point Plan proposed by WHO Europe, it is clear that the EU and WHO need to step up their efforts, in synergy, to build a self-sufficient and resilient nursing workforce in the EU and Europe. WHO’s Ten-Point Plan:
- Align education with population needs and health service requirements
- Strengthen professional development to equip the workforce with new knowledge and competencies
- Expand the use of digital tools that support the workforce
- Develop strategies that recruit and retain health workers in rural and remote areas
- Create working conditions that promote a healthy work-life balance
- Protect the health and mental well-being of the workforce
- Build leadership capacity for workforce governance and planning
- Improve health information systems for better data collection and analysis
- Increase public investment in workforce education, development and protection
- Optimise the use of funds for innovative workforce policies.
Knowing nurses are leaving the profession right now, and units/hospitals need to close down, throughout the EU and Europe, with a move towards aggressive and unethical recruitment, Brain Drain, will increase in the coming years. WHO will need to step up its efforts to keep nurses in the profession and focus down their priorities to address the shortage of nurses in the EU and Europe.