Organisations representing professionals with specialised qualifications in the fields of veterinary surgery, pharmacy and nursing have made a joint appeal to the European Commission and national governments to support proposals from the European Parliament that would improve the possibility of specialist qualification mobility across Europe.
The Directive governing qualification recognition across EU states (Directive 2005/36) allows for mutual recognition of medicine and dentistry specialisms, but not for any of the other five ‘automatically recognised’ professions such as veterinary surgery, pharmacy and nursing.
The European Parliament has therefore proposed that specialisms of these professions be allowed to form ‘common training frameworks’ to achieve recognition of a qualification across countries. This would involve nine countries or more coming together to make a voluntary arrangement for recognising a qualification. This could be based on agreed competencies and obtained skills, rather than requiring a strict agreement on the duration of a qualification, as previous models of qualification recognition have been based upon.
No EU countries would be forced to take part in such a framework. Instead countries could ‘opt in’ at the start of the process, or at a later point. However, the European Commission’s proposals for reform of Directive 2005/36 (December 2011) prohibited any of the seven automatically recognised professions from making use of such a framework. It is this prohibition that the European Parliament is seeking to remove.
With discussion between the Parliament, Commission and national governments now in ‘trilogue’, the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS), the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP)and the European Specialist Nurses Organisations (ESNO) have issued a joint communique to the discussion participants, urging them not to miss the opportunity for long-term improvement to specialist qualification recognition.
Dr. Roberto Frontini, President of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists said: “Prohibiting specialised qualifications from making use of a common training framework occurs to our organisations as running directly counter to the very purposes of Directive 2005/36: to make qualification recognition procedures faster, simpler and more reliable. We are urging the Commission and Council of Ministers to respect the mandate of the European Parliament as the voice of the EU electorate, see common sense, and lift this prohibition.”
Prof. Stephen May, President of the European Board of Veterinary Specialties said: “The common training framework offers a real window of opportunity for specialties of the seven automatically recognised professions not yet benefiting from a clear avenue for mutual recognition of qualifications. The real beneficiary of such a change will be the European consumer as individuals with high levels of expertise are more able to practice in those parts of Europe where their skills needs are most required. We urge the Commission and Council of Ministers to seize the moment and ensure the reform package to Directive 2005/36 actually meets its purpose.”
Pascal Rod, President of the European Specialist Nurses Organisations said: “We are pleased to join our colleagues in veterinary and pharmacy in making this joint call for an improved framework for cross-border specialty and advanced practice qualification recognition across Europe. The European Parliament’s amendments on this topic have our full support and we urge the trilogue discussion participants to give them positive consideration. Real and tangible improvement is at hand.”