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Teams of MU-Varna Work in Cooperation with Their European Colleagues on the Issues of Human Resources in Healthcare in Europe

Three expert teams from Medical University - Varna took part at the second general conference of Joint Action on Health Workforce Planning & Forecasting Project under the Health Programme of the European Commission. The conference was held on 4th and 5th December 2014 in Rome, at the Ministry of Health of Italy, and was under the auspices of the Minister of Health of Italy Beatrice Lorenzin.

Participants at the conference were all the partners in the common action - the teams of Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, Finland, Hungary, Malta, Slovakia, Portugal, Germany, Bulgaria, as well as representatives of the European Commission, ministries and universities from all EU Member States, European associations of doctors, nurses, dental doctors, pharmacists, of the employers, representatives of the World Health Organization and other project partners.

Our country, together with Belgium, is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the work package Sustainability and is represented by Medical University - Varna and the National Centre for Public Health and Analysis (NCPHA)-Sofia. Co-leaders of the work package are Prof. Todorka Kostadinova - Vice-Rector for International Cooperation, Quality and Accreditation at MU-Varna and Eng. Michel Van Hoegarden - Programme Manager of Joint Action for Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting at the European Commission.

The main objective of the joint action of the EU countries is to create a methodology for human resources planning, to present mechanisms that balance migration of health workers among EU countries and to develop a unified system for collecting data in order to achieve effective planning.

Over the past years there has been a trend of increasing migration of health professionals from countries with a lower to countries with a higher standard of life, as that movement is clearly pronounced along the axis "east-west" and "south-north". A significant problem for our country is the orientation of the Bulgarian health workers to countries in Western Europe. As a member of the European family, Bulgaria has to deal with the challenge to protect the rights of its citizens (Bulgarian doctors and nurses) to work on an equal basis in the European internal market and at the same time to motivate them to stay and work here.

Within the project, opportunities are being discussed for European investments in the education and specialization of medical professionals in the so-called "sending countries", among which is also Bulgaria. Experts Network from across the European Union is being developed, in which Bulgarian representatives are included as well. The opinion of future generation medics - today's students in Medicine, Pharmacy, Dental Medicine, Nursing and Midwifery is being explored. Medical University - Varna participates in the implementation and coordination of the Pilot Satisfaction Survey of the Opinion of European Students, including Bulgarian students as well.

The next task of the expert teams of the countries participating in the project is to develop technical and political recommendations for the implementation of mechanisms for more efficient distribution of health workers in the European Union. The presentation and generalization of the recommendations will take place at the third general conference in 2015, which will be hosted by Bulgaria.

More information on the progress of the action can be found on the Internet site​  of the project.