EU collaboration

Sharing good practice and innovative ideas in EU countries to help healthcare leaders overcome today’s common challenges.

NHS organisations and their senior leaders have much to gain from exchanging expertise and experiences personally with colleagues in other member states, especially where different systems offer opportunities to try out different ideas and approaches.

The NHS European Office can help NHS managers and clinicians understand the European context as they shape their organisations and healthcare economies in the new landscape by:

  • facilitating access to good practice and expertise in other countries;
  • advising on opportunities offered by EU funding programmes for collaborative research and other joint initiatives with partners from across the EU;
  • facilitating access to comparative studies in specific areas;
  • facilitating European peer links between groups of healthcare professionals or health care providers.

European Social Dialogue

The NHS European Office has the mandate to represent NHS employers in the European Social Dialogue. Engagement with the European Social Dialogue offers the NHS a key channel with which to influence EU workforce policy and law at an early stage. This is because the European Commission has a legal duty both to consult European organisations representing employers and trade unions before releasing any proposals relevant to them and, most importantly, to give them the opportunity to negotiate new EU law (in this case the EU law is agreed by the social partners with the EU institutions simply ‘rubber stamping’ the agreement).

We represent the NHS in two social partner organisations, the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers' Association (HOSPEEM) and the European Centre for Employers and Enterprises Providing Public Services (CEEP). We are also members of the UK arm of CEEP, CEEP UK.

Why engage in social dialogue?

There are a number of benefits for the NHS from involvement in social dialogue, including:

early sight of European Commission policy developments likely to affect the health sector;

the opportunity to influence proposals at an early stage and take an active role in negotiations and discussions on issues important to the health sector across Europe;

access to a platform for the exchange of information, good practice and learning experiences

For more information about Social Dialogue and the NHS European Office's work on EU employment issues more generally, see the European employment policy pages on the NHS Employers website.

'Cross-industry' social dialogue

CEEP, as the representative body for public sector employers, is one of the intersectoral social partner organisations which participate in cross-industry social dialogue (together with representatives of private sector employers, small and medium size enterprises and the trade unions).

Cross-industry social dialogue covers the whole economy and labour market and looks at issues common to all fields of employment and social affairs. The results and standards adopted by the cross-industry social partners apply to businesses and workers across Europe. For example, the EU Directive on parental leave implements an agreement reached by the cross-industry social partners.

Social dialogue in the hospital and healthcare sector

Alongside the cross-industry social dialogue, there are a number of sectoral social dialogue committees, including some for the hospital and healthcare sector, looking at employment-related issues of specific concern or particular importance for their sector. The hospital-sector social partners are HOSPEEM and the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU).