Health workforce

Summaries of contributions

J.B. Eastwood, UK; Jacob Plange-Rhule, Ghana; S. Naicker, South Africa and R.C. Tutt, UK

Note: The following is an excerpt from lengthier comments specific to articles 6 and 7.

We offer the following comments as co-authors of a May 2005 Lancet article about the loss of health professionals from sub-Saharan Africa.

Article 6 appears to be of potential importance in reducing the dependence of destination countries on the recruitment of migrant health personnel. However, to achieve its aims, we suggest that the code should urge countries to report specifically on their “work towards establishing effective health workforce planning” when they make their proposed initial reports two years after the adoption of the code.

We suggest that all countries, but particularly destination countries, should be encouraged to demonstrate regularly that their national health workforce planning and training targets are in line with the projected size of their public and private health sectors.

Related to Article 7, Member States should not only “collect and analyse data that are required to support effective health workforce human resource policies and planning” but should be urged to publish regularly that data and analysis. Greater transparency about all national workforce planning seems likely to be essential if the aims of the code are to be met.

Department of Health, United Kingdom

Note: The DoH provided a number of specific comments on articles 3,4,5,7,8,9, and 11 and these will be duly considered when the draft is revised. Below is a summary of the DoH’s general comments and selected specific comments.

  • The structure might be changed to provide a greater emphasis on the importance of sustainable workforce policies. Article 6 could be moved towards the beginning, to emphasize that the starting point of the code is sustainable recruitment and retention both in “source” and “recruiting” countries; followed by a more explicit article 5 about how countries need to work with each other.
  • Both articles 5 and 6 could be strengthened with practical examples.
  • More consistent language regarding the scope of the code would be helpful. Sometimes it is implied that the code is voluntary, sometimes mandatory and other times it is ambiguous. We believe that article 2 sets out the correct position, and other parts need to be consistent with this.

3.1 Make it clear that each country needs to develop national policies, taking into account the code and cooperating with each other as appropriate.

4.5 While we would like to support these aspirations, it is important that patient safety is explicitly recognized. For example, it is important that health care workers can communicate effectively with colleagues and patients.


Last update:

5 September 2014 10:14 CEST