On March 3rd, 2011 the Commission adopted Regulation (EU) No 213/2011 amending Annexes II and V to Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the recognition of professional qualifications. This administrative act implies that the clinical / medical genetics specialty was officially recognised as an EU- wide specialty and this regulation came into force the following day! This regulation is also relevant for the EEA countries and will be important in the near future for many EU-Accession countries, thereby potentially reaching a European-wide relevance.
The ESHG would like to sincerely thank all collaborators and stakeholders who had worked in the past within the administratively and politically demanding recognition process, notably the Presidents and/or representatives of respective European national human / medical / clinical genetics societies, without whom this marvellous achievement would not have been possible! The ESHG is particular pleased that this successful Europe–wide initiative reflects the strength, dedication and the genuine team spirit of European genetics. The facilitating role of the European Union of Medical Specialists in the development of consensus curriculum for clinical / medical genetics is also gratefully acknowledged. The broad scale of such trans-national collaboration is documented at the „Genetics as a Medical Specialty in Europe“ section of the ESHG website.
The ESHG would also like to encourage all stakeholders to proactively inform about the newly achieved status of clinical / medical genetics their national medical associations, medical chambers and/or respective competent government authorities which are instrumental in the process of recognition of individual qualifications for cross-border provision of health-care, whereby rare diseases (hence predominantly genetic disorders) duly recently received a prominent status (See the Directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare and the Press release on the Council Adoption).
However, there are still significant challenges in front of us in that we need to achieve the same status also for laboratory genetics specialty and for genetic nurses / counsellors. There has been positive progress (e.g. regarding the development of a template for consensus curriculum for the laboratory genetics specialty) and such updates will be presented at the ESHG 2011 conference in Amsterdam. The ESHG wants to stress, as it had repeatedly done so in the past, that it acknowledges that these specialties are as important as clinical / medical genetics and that these constitute integral components of comprehensive provision of genetic services. Recognition of clinical / medical genetics specialty was thus not „prioritised“ in any way, rather we utilised an unique momentum provided by the “EU Council Recommendation on an action in the field rare diseases” (adopted in June 2009), which is predominantly pertinent to the provision of clinical / medical genetic services. Moreover, the concurrent establishment of the UEMS consensus curriculum for clinical / medical genetics (adopted in April 2009) enabled us to follow the current (albeit cumbersome) EC DG Internal Market and Services procedure for trans-national recognition of medical specialties. Another important moment was the fact that from the political perspective rare diseases had belonged to core topics of Autumn 2008 French and of the Spring 2009 Czech EU Council Presidencies. Thus, simultaneous recognition of medical oncology together with clinical / medical genetics underscores the relevance of these specialties for the field of rare diseases.
The Commission have recently recognised the arduous tasks particularly related to the recognition of non-medical specialties, which we have faced and that substantially hampered our desire for a more rapid progress in the EU-wide recognition of the two „remaining“ genetics specialties. Development of consensus curricula at the transnational level is very difficult in the absence of „UEMS-like“ bodies and certain national regulatory measures have proved to be almost insurmountable, if the current DG Internal Market and Services recognition procedures were still to be applied. We are grateful that the Commission became aware of these general administrative obstacles and that they launched the “Public Consultation on the Professional Qualifications Directive“. The ESHG endorses the proposed simplification of the trans-national recognition procedures, a move which will also markedly facilitate EU-wide recognition of the laboratory specialty and of genetic nurses / counsellors. All relevant stakeholders are therefore encouraged to send their positive endorsements to this commendable Commission initiative by the deadline of March 15/2011.
Milan Macek Jr.
President of the ESHG
Joint supportive petition
During the European Human Genetics Conference in Vienna on May 25, 2009, the vast majority of the attendees of the 5th Meeting of the Presidents of the National Human Genetics Societies signed a joint supportive petition to include Clinical-/Medical Genetics into Directive 2005 / 36 / EC, and endorsed the UEMS consensus curriculum “Description of Clinical Genetics as a medical specialty in the EU: Aims and objectives for specialist training”, which was adopted on April 25, 2009.
- Current status of EU-wide recognition of the clinical genetics speciality (June 2010)
- Joint Supportive Petition signed by the representatives
- Consensus curriculum for clinical / medical genetics adopted by UEMS
- Status of the Human-/Medical Genetics in Europe (Spreadsheet)
- Joint UEMS / ESHG Clinical Genetics Workshop on Recognition and Education, Jan. 20, 2010, Brussels
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