The new IOM publication: MRS N°48 - Mobility of Health Professionals to, from and within the European Union

This publication is a shortened version of the summary report “Mobility of Health Professionals: Health systems, work conditions, patterns of health workers' mobility and implication for policy makers”, which was published in March 2012, in Bonn, Germany, by a consortium led by Dr. Caren Weilandt at the Wissenschaftliches Institut der Ärzte Deutschlands (WIAD, Scientific Institute of the Medical Association of German Doctors). 

The summary report was written by Frits Tjadens from Health and Social Care Associates, Caren Weilandt and Josef Eckert from WIAD, and the following organizations from the Mobility of Health Professionals (MoHProf) consortium:
  • Centre of Migration Research of the University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Institute of Health Policy and Development Studies of the University of the Philippines
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM), Migration Health Division, Regional Office, Brussels
  • International Hospital Federation, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria
  • Public Health Institute, California, United States of America
The publication provides an overview of the outcomes of the MoHProf project that aimed to gather more insights into the processes and effects of mobility of health professionals to, from and within the European Union (EU) and which was carried out under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development of the EU. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the world was lacking at least 4.2 million health workers in 2006. The European Union (EU) expects a shortage of a million health workers by 2020 and, in addition, health workers are not spread evenly across the region, and spending on health may vary widely. This implies major imbalances, resulting in an environment highly conducive to migration of health workers. Thus, the EU plays a role in the global process of migration of health workers.

The enlargement process increased this tendency. Ten countries joined the EU in 2004 (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia (EU10). Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007 (EU2). Shortages of health workers have widespread effects, as they may deplete regions and countries of much needed resources. As education and training of health workers are costly and time-consuming, and as major parts of health workers' education and training may be financed by their countries of qualification, migration of health workers, although a personal freedom, can also represent a loss of investment for the sending country. These factors shaped the relevance of the MoHProf project.