Migration and retention
Migration is an inevitable feature of modern societies and of our globalized world. Health workforce migration can have positive aspects: it can be a solution to the staff shortages in some countries; it can be a means by which individual health workers can improve their skills, career opportunities and standards of living. However, it can also create additional problems of shortages in health systems of countries that are already understaffed.
There is an increasing recognition among all European Member States of the need to factor international mobility and migration into strategies and policies for managing health workers. There is also a consensus on the need for effective management of migration, with a view to ensuring the availability of high quality health care worldwide and to channelling health worker movement into safe, legal, humane and orderly avenues.
There are current limitations in data and information on migration flows which must be addressed if Member States are to develop evidence-based policies and maintain an informed and effective stance on the issue. First steps have been taken by expanding the Joint Questionnaire of OECD, WHO and Eurostat. A new module was introduced in January 2015 on the international migration of health workers. The aim is to improve the monitoring of international health workforce migration through the collection of a minimum dataset that is relevant to both origin and destination countries.
In recent years, WHO/Europe has been instrumental in the process of developing the global code of practice for the international recruitment of health personnel. The WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel was adopted unanimously by all Member States at the 63rd World Health Assembly on 21 May 2010.
As part of Resolution WHA63.16 WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel the first review of the effectiveness of the Code was made by the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in 2015. The progress report analyses the aims and objectives achieved of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel in the European Region within the broader context of challenges to human resources for health (HRH), and Health 2020, the European policy for health and well-being.