Coronavirus: Commission approves funding for training of healthcare professionals in intensive care skills

Yesterday, the Commission signed a contract to make the funding of €2.5 million from the Emergency Support Instrument available for training of a multidisciplinary pool of healthcare professionals supporting and assisting Intensive Care Units (ICU) in times of need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The training will provide intensive care medical skills to healthcare professionals not regularly working in ICUs. This will help increase the capacity of staff that could be deployed at a time when there is need for rapid, temporary and significant scale-up of ICU capacity. COVID-19 has significantly affected the number of hospital beds available during the first months of the pandemic – leading to a 30 to 40% increase in demand of ICU beds, and resulting in available resources being overstretched. This programme, implemented evenly across the EU, will cover a minimum of 1,000 hospitals and 10,000 doctors and nurses, and will be deployed between August and December 2020. Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “With this decision, we further demonstrate our commitment to support front line healthcare workers across Europe by providing essential medical training to ensure that they are fully equipped with the necessary knowledge to help in the specialist setting of ICUs in times of crisis. We will continue to do our utmost to support Member States in their efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic and improve preparedness and response through the Emergency Support Instrument.” As part of the response to the COVID-19 crisis, the European Commission has created virtual networks of doctors working with COVID-19 patients in hospitals. This training programme is another example of the Commission’s support to healthcare professionals and collaboration with the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine.