The European Commission has commissioned a study to identify and analyse effective strategies for recruiting and retaining health professionals to serve as inspiration for the development of organisational strategies and human resources policies in Europe. Many EU countries report difficulties both in retaining and recruiting health staff, although reasons vary as to why. For some countries, it is due to unattractive jobs, poor management or few opportunities for promotion. In others the economic crisis has increased the outflow of health professionals – the so-called “brain drain”.

These problems concern us all as everybody is a patient at some point in their lives and patients deserve access to high quality care from a well-qualified workforce. The study recognises recruitment and retention of health workers as an immediate and urgent problem which needs to be addressed by policy-makers, healthcare managers and healthcare workers. While no “one size fits all” solutions can be found, the study identifies a number of success factors which are particularly relevant for specific types of recruitment and retention interventions and which could help governments and health organisations to attract and retain healthcare staff. These include education opportunities, financial incentives and professional and personal support.

To read the full study, click here on