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Denmark Considers Recruiting Healthcare Professionals from India and the Philippines Amidst Growing Workforce Challenges

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The government plans to recruit healthcare assistants (SOSU) and nurses from India and the Philippines.

Ensuring an adequate workforce in healthcare and elderly care is already challenging today, and with a growing elderly population combined with a declining working-age population, it will only become more difficult.

According to a projection from the Ministry of Finance, by 2035, there may be a shortage of up to 15,000 healthcare assistants (SOSU). At the same time, enrollment in nursing education is decreasing.

The government has taken several initiatives to make it more attractive to train and work in healthcare. Most recently, a tripartite agreement has been reached, providing a salary increase for healthcare assistants (SOSU) and nurses. This week, the government presented a new proposal to strengthen SOSU education, and later in the year, a reform of several major welfare-oriented higher education programs, including nursing education, is expected.

However, this may not be enough, and therefore the government is now also willing to explore the possibility of partnerships with third countries for the recruitment of healthcare assistants (SOSU) and nurses.

-“With declining interest in welfare education and the prospect of more elderly and fewer young people, we risk having too few individuals to step in at hospitals and in elderly care in the future. It is a huge challenge that our society must handle. India and the Philippines have expressed their willingness to discuss collaboration on education and recruitment of healthcare professionals. We need to understand how such collaboration can be concretely structured, and we are now entering into a dialogue with the two countries. If we continue as before with small adjustments, we fail future generations and our welfare society. There is a need to think in completely new ways if we want to ensure that there is enough well-trained healthcare personnel in the future to take care of our sick and elderly,” says Minister of Education and Research Christina Egelund.

She is supported by Minister of the Interior and Health Sophie Løhde:

-“We are on a burning platform. Already today, there is a significant shortage of healthcare professionals, and we are facing a future where the shortage of labor in our healthcare and elderly care will become even greater. We have, therefore, taken several initiatives to train more people, retain the current healthcare personnel, and attract those who have left their profession. However, it may still be difficult to meet the demand for healthcare professionals, which is increasing as the elderly population grows. Therefore, we also have to explore the possibilities of attracting foreign social and healthcare workers, the professional group that will face the greatest shortage in the coming years”.

In the initial phase, the plan is to engage in a dialogue with India and the Philippines, which have expressed their readiness to collaborate on the recruitment of healthcare professionals.

Decisions on how the partnerships can be organized, including possible educational efforts in the respective countries, have not yet been made. This will depend on further dialogues with the concerned countries, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with, among others, the Ministry of the Interior and Health, the Ministry of Education and Research, and the Ministry of Immigration and Integration, will initiate.

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