Policy summary 10: addressing needs in the public health workforce in Europe

    Publication year: 2014

    Health systems in Europe face a number of increasingly complex challenges. Globalization, evolving health threats, an ageing society, fi nancial constraints on government spending, and social and health inequalities are some of the most pressing. Such challenges require not only different funding and organizational approaches to health services, but also demand a multidisciplinary public health workforce supported by new skills and expertise. This policy summary aims to outline these needs and to consider measures and options towards meeting them. First, the aims of the public health workforce in Europe (noting that many elements of this discussion should not be seen as unique to Europe) and the importance of public health are described. The importance of public health professionals who can fi ll information, prevention, social and regulatory defi cits is explained. This is followed by a picture of the current workforce and training provisions. Although the Bologna Process and the WHO Regional Offi ce for Europe’s Health 2020 policy provide a conducive backdrop for change and promote positive developments, public health training and education lag behind. Large gaps are apparent in both the numbers of professionals trained and the kind of training that exists. Education is still largely characterized by a traditional and limited public health focus.