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Professional Qualifications Directive: MEPs’ reports support EPF key points

In July the European Parliament published the draft report of the IMCO committee, responsible for the review of Directive 2005/36 on the recognition of professional qualifications, and the draft opinion of the ENVI committee on the same text. Both reports support important points the European Patients’ Forum raised in its position statement.

The ENVI committee opinion, drafted by MEP Anja Weisgerber (EPP/Germany), stresses that patient safety is a priority in the review. The IMCO Rapporteur is Bernadette Vergnaud (S&D/France). Both reports strengthen the wording of the Commission’s proposal to clearly exclude healthcare professionals from partial access. Both reports are also in favour of extending the alert mechanism between competent authorities to cases where a fake diploma has been used. The ENVI committee opinion, in addition, stresses that all healthcare professionals with patient safety implications should be covered by this alert mechanism, not only those benefiting from automatic recognition.

As regards the proposal to launch a European Professional Card, the IMCO report reintroduces the obligation for professionals to make an annual declaration, while the ENVI opinion stresses the voluntary nature of the card and that it cannot be used as a proof of qualification.

Language requirements for migrating healthcare professionals are a core safety issue from the patients’ perspective. EPF strongly welcomes the recommendation by the ENVI Rapporteur that language must be checked before a professional can exercise the profession, and that language is checking should be separated from the recognition of qualification.

The European Patients’ Forum will continue to liaise with key MEPs and other stakeholders to advocate these changes and to address some other important issues which we highlighted in our position, including:

  • Fitness to practice: stronger provisions for the verification of fitness to practice and fulfilment of CPE requirements, as well as greater transparency towards patients.
  • : The verification of language skills prior to exercising the profession in another country should be mandatory for professions which have patient safety implications, and national competence requirements should be developed in each Member States with the input of patient organisations in order to ensure that professionals are able to communicate with patients in real-life situations.

Both reports will soon be available in English on the European Parliament’s website. The reports in their original language versions can be accessed here (IMCO) and here (ENVI).