Strengthening the European Health Union

Matching free movement of persons and equal access to health for all

Policy Brief


Matching free movement of persons and equal access to health for all

Across the European Union, the sizes of the healthcare workforce differ greatly – both between and within member states. Ensuring the right to health in Europe is impossible without a sufficient health workforce. Yet this unequal distribution of the health workforce in the EU has hardly figured in discussions on a European Health Union (EHU).

Freedom of movement is a fundamental EU right, but as healthcare workers move away from ‘periphery’ member states and relocate to the ‘core’ countries, inequalities in access to healthcare are emerging in their home countries. How do we safeguard the freedom of movement of healthcare workers while ensuring that there are enough healthcare professionals to meet demand?

This policy brief highlights why discussing health workforce challenges must be part of the EHU. It explores how existing EU competences can be used to address these distributional inequalities and ultimately to ensure access to health for all.

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