A Workforce to Primary Healthcare (W1)

Bringing the cool back to general practicing and primary health care

It is a nice, but rather chilly Wednesday morning here in Gastein and the first day is on its way! Exciting Gasteiners fill the conference room as Workshop 1 – A Workforce to Primary Healthcare is starting.

Getting us to a fantastic start the EHFG president, Clemens Martin Auer opens the session with some food for though as he mentioned the ever rising problem of primary healthcare across Europe especially focusing on the rising age of general practicing. Although we are training enough doctors around Europe, it seems that younger generations are not moving into the general practicing and primary health care. He brings up some interesting points where he mentions that innovation is happening in specialties, but not transpiring into primary health care where patients need it the most. We need to focus on bringing the cool back into primary healthcare and attracting more of our young health professionals into general practicing.

He offers a few suggestions, for instance, a new and update curriculum, boosting digital technology, getting investments involved, and directing the money towards primary health care. This is an important issue, not only on a national scale, but also on an international scale.

The president’s short introduction opened the workshop where Stefan Eichwalder took over and guided us through a reform that Austria has just implemented, explaining their plan on guiding the future implementation in primary health care.

EHFG president Clemens Martin Auer

Matthias Wismar took over the microphone and introduced the workshops keynote, Marieke Kroezen who had an interesting talk on how we can make primary care more attractive for medical doctors, other health professionals, patients and the general public. Marieke discussed data collected from surveys with doctors and patients; she focused on possible reasons why primary healthcare is struggling with recruitment as well as on solutions to try and make the primary healthcare more attractive. There are interesting topics to consider; for example: why aren’t more young people entering the field? Why is the general practitioner schedule busy and not family friendly? And what challenges can we overcome in order to bring primary healthcare to the next level while working on sustainable future solutions?

These topics where then discussed with the five contributing experts that each reported shortly on different problems that face for instance shortages of staff, ageing of health professionals, financial issues, gender inequalities, poor education, updated curriculum, and ways to ensure that each country and area has quality health care. After a lively round table discussion, each table presented their findings and ideas to solutions where formed.

While the core concepts were similar between tables, certain ideas such as image campaigns, health professional collaboration, the implementation of specific universities, patient-centred approach, teamwork and collaboration were discussed as possible solutions. These ideas can assist in addressing the specific challenges that we are facing in the primary health field. Although the question “how can we make primary healthcare cool?” was not solved, there were a number of ideas discussed, and potential problems addressed and reported. In the end, we are all striving towards the same goal which is to reform and work collaboratively with health professional to ensure that each patient is benefitting from our service.

Round table Discussions


This Blog was written by the Young Gasteiner Rúna Stefánsdóttir



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