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Health and social services sector

With Europe’s ageing population and declining fertility rates, the need for health and social services is set to increase dramatically. The role of the European Union in determining a long-term strategy takes on ever more importance in this respect.

Health and social services in all EU Member States face similar challenges in adjusting to demographic ageing, changing employment and family patterns, evolving technological opportunities and funding issues. Reform of health and social services will be necessary therefore, as there is a current tendency to rely on market mechanisms as a means of increasing efficiency. Nevertheless, recent advances in information and communication technology, and in genomics and other biotechnologies, have had positive effects on the efficiency of healthcare services.

Challenges also lie ahead in relation to working conditions in the health and social services sector. Due to increasing job demands, less job control and skilled work, working conditions in this sector – which has an overwhelmingly female workforce – have become less favourable.

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Page last updated: 28 July, 2009

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