WONCA Europe takes part in WHO Europe Regional High-Level Forum on Health in the Well-being  



Ferdinando Petrazzuoli, MD, PhD, Family Doctor in Italy, participated on behalf of WONCA Europe and its rural network EURIPA to the WHO Europe Regional High-Level Forum on Health in the Well-being Economy which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark (hybrid) on the 2nd March 2023. 

The title of his contribution was: Rural proofing human resources for health strategies and plans to better address workload and workforce in European rural primary care.

In his presentation, broadcasted remotely, doctor Petrazzuoli addressed the issue of the workforce shortages and vacancies in rural primary care in Europe.

In Ireland the “No Doctor No Village” campaign is a nationwide campaign led by rural patients and GPs. It aims to save & protect the GP service of rural communities which has become increasingly vulnerable and has led to many isolated rural communities losing their permanent GP service. But unfortunately, rural workforce shortages and vacancies are ubiquitous across Europe. In Europe rural populations are aging much faster than those in urban areas: this mean increased workload for the health care personnel.

An excessive workload can scare away the next generation of general practitioners and is a major barrier to recruiting and retaining general practitioners in rural areas.

Changes to training can have an impact but isolated, rural and remote practitioners need support to encourage them to stay. Support includes remuneration, ongoing training, housing, premises and equipment, support for family members and access to ongoing education and training. 

Retaining young general practitioners in rural areas is one of the main visions of the WONCA Europe and EURIPA. Preserving our beautiful genuine rural villages, our mountains, our little islands from the abandonment of the population needs also the provision of a good quality primary care. The massive emigration of population from our calm rural areas to troubled suburban “banlieue” with high social disenfranchisement is one of the worst possible future scenarios, which somewhere and sometimes is already happening, creating big social problems. Having good healthcare in rural areas is not only a matter of health, but also of security, democracy, equity and public order. 


Money spent on rural primary health care is an 'investment' in the future.



Blueprint for Rural Practice in Europe, June 2022.

Glynn L, Murphy AW, Scully R, Strasser R, Quinlan D, Cowley J, Hayes P, O’Donnell P, O’Regan A, Tuli S, Santana MA, Sparrow-Downes VM, Petrazzuoli F, Nowlan S, Collins C, Fogarty F, MacFarlane A, Wynn-Jones J, Chater AB. The Limerick Declaration on Rural Health Care 2022. Rural and Remote Health 2023; 23: 7905. https://doi.org/10.22605/RRH7905