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Health workforce development in the European Union: A matrix for comparing trajectories of change in the professions

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  • Pavolini, Emmanuele
  • Kuhlmann, Ellen

Abstract

This article assesses professional development trajectories in top-, middle- and basic-level health workforce groups (doctors, nurses, care assistants) in different European Union countries using available international databases. Three theoretical strands (labour market, welfare state, and professions studies) were connected to explore ideal types and to develop a matrix for comparison. With a focus on larger EU-15 countries and four different types of healthcare systems, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom serve as empirical test cases. The analysis draws on selected indicators from public statistics/OECD data and micro-data from the EU Labour Force Survey. Five ideal typical trajectories of professional development were identified from the literature, which served as a matrix to compare developments in the three health workforce groups. The results reveal country-specific trajectories with uneven professional development and bring opportunities for policy interventions into view. First, there is a need for integrated health labour market monitoring systems to improve data on the skills mix of the health workforce. Second, a relevant number of health workers with fixed contracts and involuntary part-time reveals an important source for better recruitment and retention strategies. Third, a general trend towards increasing numbers while worsening working conditions was identified across our country cases. This trend hits care assistants, partly also nurses, the most. The research illustrates how public data sources may serve to create new knowledge and promote more sustainable health workforce policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Pavolini, Emmanuele & Kuhlmann, Ellen, 2016. "Health workforce development in the European Union: A matrix for comparing trajectories of change in the professions," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(6), pages 654-664.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:120:y:2016:i:6:p:654-664
    DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2016.03.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Palese, Alvisa & Grassetti, Luca & Bandera, Davide & Zuttion, Ranieri & Ferrario, Barbara & Ponta, Sandra & Hayter, Mark & Watson, Roger, 2018. "High feeding dependence prevalence in residents living in Italian nursing homes requires new policies: Findings from a regionally based cross-sectional study," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 301-308.
    2. Pütz, Robert & Kontos, Maria & Larsen, Christa & Rand, Sigrid & Ruokonen-Engler, Minna-Kristiina, 2019. "Betriebliche Integration von Pflegefachkräften aus dem Ausland: Innenansichten zu Herausforderungen globalisierter Arbeitsmärkte," Study / edition der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Düsseldorf, volume 127, number 416.

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