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The EPSU SC HSS meets twice a year to deliberate on issues of concern to health and social sector unions across Europe. It also serves to promote social dialogue within the European Union mechanism and with the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers' Association (HOSPEEM).
The meeting deliberated on a wide range of issues, including items of sectoral social dialogue in the hospital sector such as joint priorities and action points for EPSU in the field of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and psychosocial risks and stress at work (PSRS@W). Concepts and reforms concerning skills mixes and task shifting were also discussed. And affiliates shared information on initiatives to address the impacts of digitalisation in health and social care, in line with an ongoing collaboration between EPSU and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI).
With the EPSU Congress coming up on 4-7 June at Dublin, updates on the draft Programme of Action and congress preparation was an important item on the agenda. The first exchange on thematic priorities for the health and social services sector for 2019-2024 was a first step to formulate the Standing Committee’s Work Programme for the next five-year period.
Exchanging information on staffing levels and taking action to ensure safe and effective staffing for health will be an important part of the work in the coming period, according to the EPSU Policy Officer for the sector, Mathias Maucher. A web portal will be established as a repository of good practice.
Baba Aye, the PSI Health and Social Sector Officer updated the Steering Committee on implementation of the PSI Programme of Action 2018-2022 in the sector and recent HSS-related activities in general.
He spoke on engagement with the Global Skills Partnership (GSP) in relation to international health worker migration, the PSI Right to Health global campaign; proposed research work for 2019, and enhancing participation of affiliates in World Health Organization and OECD Health Committee meetings. He also urged more European affiliates to contribute articles to the PSI Right to Health Quarterly.
The meeting ended in high spirits, with 8 October fixed as the date for the next meeting of the Steering Committee.