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EPF advocates the patient perspective on Professional Qualifications

As the discussion over the review of the Professional Qualifications Directive continues in the European Parliament, EPF has contacted MEPs from the ENVI and IMCO committee to bring a patients’ perspective on the draft reports and amendments tabled by MEPs on the legislative proposal.EPF welcomes opinion adopted by the Environment and Public health committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament on 8 November 2012. It takes on board many provisions we had advocated for in our position statement and our letter to MEPs in ENVI.

Taking patient safety as a “yardstick”, the opinion put forward by MEP Anja Weisgerber (EPP, Germany) stresses that partial access should not apply to healthcare professions, and extends the alert mechanism about persons who have been banned by an authority or a court from exercising their profession to all healthcare professions.

Further, it requests that Member States must have a system in place to ensure health professionals regularly update their competencies through Continuing Professional Development.

It also recommends putting in place a specific strategy at European level on Health workforce, in coordination with Member States, in order to guarantee the highest level of patients and consumers protection.

The opinion also calls for introducing stronger provisions on language verifications for healthcare professionals:  it states that the language knowledge required in order to practise a profession with implications for patients must be tested or supervised by the competent authorities for all professionals. Language checking must be separate from the recognition of professional qualifications, but must be carried out prior to admission to the profession. The opinion also takes Level C1 of the European Framework of Reference for Languages as a minimum standard for admission to professions with patient safety implication.

EPF will strongly support the amendments proposed by the ENVI opinion in the plenary vote on the review of the Professional Qualifications Directive in 2013. The ENVI opinion is accessible here.

In January 2013, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee will vote on the draft report of MEP Bernadette Vergnaud (S&D, France) and the 700 amendments tabled by MEPs in October (accessible here). EPF sent a letter to members of the IMCO committee to support amendments and compromise that reflect our position and seek to promote higher standards of safety and quality of care in the European Union.

For more information, please contact laurene.souchet@eu-patient.eu