WONCA Europe WP on Policy Advocacy at the “Health workforce challenges: Ways forward for policy making” symposium

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety convened a virtual symposium to address pressing challenges in the healthcare workforce and outline strategies for effective policy making. The title was: “HEALTH WORKFORCE CHALLENGES: WAYS FORWARD FOR POLICY MAKING”. With 242 attendees connecting online, the symposium provided a platform for robust discussion and collaboration among healthcare stakeholders on the 27th of January 2024.

During the symposium, key insights were shared in response to critical questions facing healthcare policy makers. One notable exchange came from Sabine Stordeur, Director-General of DG Health Care at the Federal Public Service Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment in Belgium, in response to a question from the WONCA Europe Working Party on Policy Advocacy:


Question: "How can the EU invest in training professionals in primary care and create attractive conditions for these professionals, particularly in rural areas?"


Sabine Stordeur provided comprehensive recommendations for addressing this challenge, emphasising the need for holistic solutions and collaboration across sectors. Key points from her response include:

  • Implementing comprehensive strategies to improve attraction conditions.

  • Collaborating with academic institutions to educate students about rural dynamics.

  • Offering financial incentives to attract professionals to rural areas, such as exchange programs for financial support.

  • Engaging with local communities to address their needs and foster a sense of belonging.

  • Tackling working conditions and promoting cross-border collaboration to mitigate shortages.

  • Investing in research and data analysis to inform effective policy initiatives.


The symposium highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts and innovative approaches in addressing health workforce challenges across Europe.