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Recognising professional qualifications directive goes live

The recognition of professional qualifications Directive comes into force today, Monday 18 January, across all member states. The revised Directive was adopted at the end of 2013 and member states have had two years in which to implement the provisions of the Directive in their national legislation.

The main features of the new Directive introduce:

  • a pro-active fitness to practise alert mechanism
  • the ability for competent authorities to assess the language competence of professionals after recognition but before access to the profession
  • a requirement for member states to encourage continuing professional education and training
  • the principle of partial access for professionals who do not benefit from automatic recognition
  • revised minimum training requirements for some of the healthcare professions including doctors, nurses, dentists and midwives.

The European professional card will also be introduced for general care nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists across the European Union. This will provide a centralised online application procedure for these professionals. HPCB participants have worked to influence every step in the decision making process for this Directive, particularly the proactive fitness to practise alert mechanism, the introduction of which was one of the founding principles of HPCB. Going forward HPCB will continue to work with stakeholders across the EU to ensure the planned review of the European professional card is transparent and thorough and that member states have the opportunity to highlight any substantive issues that may arise post-implementation.

We will also use the 2016 HPCB Conference, to be held on 28 October in London, to support the work of HPCB participants in implementing the RPQ Directive. The conference will also give a platform for those healthcare regulators who form part of the first wave of the European professional card to share their experiences of implementing the card.