Government approves measures to combat healthcare staff shortage
Belgium’s government has reached an agreement on a package of emergency support measures intended to address the personnel shortage currently facing the healthcare sector, reports Bruzz and Belga.
These measures include allowing the formally-unemployed to work in healthcare while continuing to receive a quarter of their unemployment benefits for a maximum of three months.
The aim is for these unemployed people to gain additional training while on the job and then remain fully employed in healthcare.
The federal government also decided to extend some of the measures implemented during the pandemic, such as removing the income cap for retired healthcare workers who return to the workforce. A similar measure is also in place in the education field, a sector similarly suffering from staff shortages.
Volunteer and student opportunities
The package also includes a favourable tax regime, along with expanded opportunities for volunteer work and student work.
Additionally, the emergency measures include increased funding, such as a one-time budget increase of €21 million for hospitals that invest in systems that can take over a number of administrative tasks from nurses.
Through the healthcare personnel fund, another €20 million will be specifically allocated to the federal sectors.
The training programme ‘Kies voor de zorg’ or ‘Choose Healthcare’ will also receive €24 million. Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) explained that this is because its current budget is not sufficient for meeting demand.
Vandenbroucke said the healthcare personnel shortage is likely to remain for some time to come and that the emergency measures were badly needed.