“There is no time to lose. A healthcare system is only as strong as the healthcare workers that support it. If we stick to the current climate of strikes, burnout and brain drain, our health systems are in dire straits,” WHO European Director Hans Kluge warned during a meeting in Bucharest.
“The healthcare crisis in Europe is no longer an imminent threat, it is here and now. Healthcare providers and workers across our region are crying out for help and support,” he said.
At the meeting, 49 of the 53 members of the WHO in Europe approved a declaration recalling that the covid-19 pandemic has made clear “the fragility of health systems and the importance of having strong and resilient health personnel.” ».
The document highlights that last year there was a series of strikes in Europe in which health workers denounced their difficult working conditions, low salaries, as well as the lack of resources.
“The health and well-being of our societies are at stake, there is simply no time to lose,” Kluge said in a statement.
The WHO highlights that societies are experiencing double aging, that of the population and that of the health workforce, while cases of chronic diseases are increasing and the effects of the pandemic are still present.
One of the problems that requires an urgent solution is that, according to some estimates, 40% of European healthcare workers will retire in the next ten years.
The system faces “imminent collapse” in key areas if urgent action is not taken to address these challenges, the statement said.
In response to these challenges, the Bucharest Declaration calls for “political action” in five areas, such as better contracts for workers, improvements in the supply mechanisms of health personnel, and optimizing the performance of the sector’s workforce.
The last two points highlight the importance of better planning the work of workers and increasing public investment for their training, development and protection.