A message from the new UEMO President

05/02/2019 News UEMO 1266 Views
A message from the new UEMO President

The Romanian team took over the UEMO`s leading for the term 2019 to 2022, but the philosophy and the way of working of the Italian past Presidency will be continued.

General Practitioners -as any other physicians- are smart, tough, durable, resourceful people. However, they are the ”canaries” in the health care coalmine, and they are killing themselves at alarming rates (twice that of active duty military members) signaling something is desperately wrong with the system. Physicians must be treated with respect, autonomy, and the authority to make rational, safe, evidence-based, and financially responsible decisions. Top-down authoritarian mandates on medical practice are degrading and ultimately ineffective.

UEMO, a more than 50-year old organization may not be reformed as quickly as some of our members would like it, but on the other hand, as it is said, there is only one good reason to change something and one hundred reasons to not do it. We need a reform through evolution, adapted to the times we are living, and not a revolution.

More efficiency: Task Forces may take over the goals that the Board identifies as the priority and necessary for UEMO under the coordination of a Board member; of course, most of these tasks should be assumed by General Assembly, but sometimes there is no time to wait for the GA. If this is the case, all actions are subsequently submitted to GA, in case of disagreement, it is easier to withdraw from an initiative, the alternative being that we can no longer enter it. They do not compete with classical Working Groups, they do not act independently, but they enhance the Groups. TFs would not be necessary if the WGs would also work between GA. TFs are mobile, fast and small, often there are only 2 people who receive specific tasks that are then handed over/taken over by the WGs. Their need derived mainly from the UEMO assumption of stakeholder status in Joint Action groups of the EC; now there are important topics in which we have succeeded in, or have already the statute of stakeholder: HTA, eHealth, mHealth, Obesity, EMA, AMR, Personalized medicine, Single Digital Market, Artificial Intelligence, Proportionality test, the European professional register, Vaccination hesitation, the Recognition of the specialty. To have a significant voice at European level, our position as stakeholder is vital, especially in those subjects considered by us as priorities or active dossiers, in which we have or will had policies. Obviously, UEMO representation at JAs level is hard and time-consuming, energy-intensive, requires a learning-curve to reach the level of information, and our problem is the lack of people. That is why we have to keep our representatives in key positions, whether or not they have a Board function. This will happen for all positions of stakeholder representation, as we reach them.

More equity: any European country, irrespective of its size and the number of General Practitioners, should be able to get to the level of UEMO`s leadership without having the financial burden of supporting an administrative apparatus that now can be managed only by some countries.

Less discrimination for our specialty: recognition of our specialty at European level, although it does not seem to be a problem for the countries that have at it reached internally, is a vital issue in terms of the objective we set out at the beginning. Especially countries with this recognition need to act the most. In accordance with the United Nations definition, “discriminatory behaviors can take many forms, but all involve some form of exclusion or rejection or unequal treatment.”

Indirect discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion, apparently a neutral practice disadvantages certain persons on the basis of the criteria laid down by the legislation in force, except where those provisions, criteria or practices are objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the methods achievement of that purpose are appropriate and necessary. Indirect discrimination is also any active or passive behavior which, through the effects it generates, favors or defaults unjustifiably a person, a group of persons or a community towards others who are in equal situations.

We believe that our categorization as specific training physicians is outdated and is currently generating negative effects. The Directive 2005/36/CE provides a framework which draws an explicit distinction between GPs and what the Directive describes as specialised doctors, which is discriminatory from a professional point of view. Although both specialised and general medical practice doctors require considerable expertise and training, the Directive identifies significant differences between the two. The fact that is highlighted that the training in Family Medicine is more practical than theoretical, is at least inappropriate: in our specialty the theoretical training is essential and no less important than the practical one, as evidenced by the content of the curriculum in countries with the recognition of specialty, and especially through the duration of training. A Specialty is defined as a nationally or internationally recognized area of medical specialization for which a structured postgraduate training programmes exists[1]. Our patients would prefer to be consulted by a specialist in General Practice/Family Medicine and not by a qualified generalist, and it is the right of patients to receive the same healthcare throughout the European Union offered by a specialty recognized by most Member States, but not also at the level of the EU.

General Practice looks like a specialty, behaves like a specialty, has all the attributes of a specialty, and should be recognised as such at European level.

More collaboration: it is necessary to develop the relationships already established with CPME, WONCA, and steps towards the UEMS for co-operation. EURACT can become the European Board of FM in curricular terms, and UEMO may become the regulator of the specialty. We are not competitive with other European Medical Organizations, but complementary with them.

More communication: we need to communicate more and especially better within the organization. The liaison between the Board and the delegates must also work during the periods between the GAs. We will use inclusive the resources offered by social media.

As a vital principle, all of our members are valuable.

 Dr. Calin Bumbulut

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