Trinity is co-convening a global forum on human resources for health

The Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health will be held this week in Dublin, with experts from Trinity among the speakers. The forum, which is co-convened by Trinity, will also feature professionals from a range of organisations including the Department of Health, Irish Aid, the Irish Forum on Global Health, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Global Health Workforce Network.

Charles Normand, the Edward Kennedy Professor of Health Policy and Management at Trinity, is the chair of the organising committee for the event. He commented that Ireland’s experience with emigration of Irish health professionals matched with a dependency on workers trained abroad, saying that “has given a good understanding of the issues on both sides”.

The theme, ‘Building the health workforce of the future’ will frame the discourse of  the forum which will see a focus on retention, training and migration within the health workforce. These key issues will be discussed and debated by over 1,000 delegates set to attend the forum.

The forum has previously been held in Brazil, Thailand and Uganda and seeks to address health worker shortfall and increasing job demand with a larger vision of moving towards universal health coverage and global health security through sustainable means with consideration for gender equality and inclusive economic growth.

Ireland has had challenges in recruiting and retaining health professions. In October, Minister for Heath, Simon Harris urged medical graduates to stay in Ireland, saying “I appeal to people, in particular our young graduates from nursing and medical school, to work with us and to give the Irish health service a chance as we enter a period of reinvestment”.

Harris estimated that 200 positions vacant at any one time, with many of these positions being outsourced by agencies to sustain numbers.Following an increase of 700 health consultants over the past 12 months, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has drafted a funded workforce plan in agreement with the nursing union to increase the number of nursing and midwifery positions by 1224 this year.