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Governing health professional mobility in the European Union

Health professional mobility in Europe has become a fast-moving target for policy-makers. It is evolving rapidly in direction and magnitude as a consequence of fundamental change caused by European Union (EU) enlargement and the financial and economic crisis.

Health professional mobility changes the numbers of health professionals in countries and the skill-mix of the workforce, with consequences for health-system performance. Many of the so-called pull and push factors influencing mobility of individuals are in the remit of countries and organizations. In Europe, these pull and push factors are co-determined by EU policies on free mobility, the qualifications directive and many soft-law initiatives.

This presentation is reviewing the current mobility trends in Europe and provides clues on how to strengthen governance for human resources for health at European and country level. A particular reference is made to mobility monitoring, workforce intelligence, workforce policies/ strategies, skills-initiatives and coordination mechanisms across sectors and levels.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Wismar, M. Governing health professional mobility in the European Union. BMC Health Serv Res 14 (Suppl 2), O33 (2014).

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