The European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) is the representative organization of the National Associations of Medical Specialists in the European Union and its associated countries. Its structure consists of a Council responsible for and working through 43 Specialist Sections and their European Boards. Within the UEMS, the Section of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (PRM) was created in 1971 and currently represents more than 23,000 PRM specialists and trainees from 41 European countries (31 full members, 3 associated members and 7 observers).
The UEMS PRM Section is committed to defining the professional competencies of PRM, the quality management and accreditation and, together with the Board, the educational concerns. More specifically, it aims to:
- Establish a precise and official definition of the specialty.
- Define the role of the physician specialized in the discipline.
- Give guidelines for optimal and harmonized education to all European countries.
- Examine how and what Continuous Medical Education (CME) is in the specialty in each country.
- Establish a convenient and reasonable relation between the specialty and the remedial professions in rehabilitation.
- Define the Field of Competence of the PRM physicians and defend the interests of those practicing PRM in Europe.
- Accredit the quality of clinical care programmes and define minimum required European guidelines for clinical practice.
The European Board of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (UEMS PRM Board), founded by a separate statute in 1991 and currently a Working Group of the UEMS PRM Section, is interested in defining in clear terms “European Standards”; i.e., the basic elements for a European training programme, the opportunities and conditions for training rotation, attachments, exchanges and the average level of required knowledge and technical competence.
Specific Board aims are to harmonize the training in PRM, so as to protect the international standards concerning the entitlement of specialist status in PRM; to monitor, promote and protect the highest standards of care applied equitably to all patients in Europe in the field of PRM; and to organize the exchange of information on subjects concerning PRM and its practicing physicians. Moreover, the Board supports editorial initiatives like e-books and online courses on PRM, that can be accessed for free by registered PRM Fellows and trainees.
Over the last years, the UEMS PRM Section has strongly promoted the importance of PRM specialty, through actions like strengthening relationships with the UEMS council and important international PRM bodies.
Three different projects were started in close cooperation with the ISPRM :
• ClinFIT (a tool for the assessment in rehabilitation)
• Individual Rehabilitation Plan
• Clinical Quality Management
A statement of mutual recognition was signed by ISPRM, ESPRM, EARM, and UEMS Section and Board, where all these bodies agreed to cooperate and to coordinate their activities at the international, regional, and national levels, in order to discuss topics of common interest for the PRM community and to carry out joint projects also including congresses and educational events. Delegates from the UEMS Section & Board attended the Rehabilitation 2030 meeting in Geneva, supporting the implementation of the ICF-based functional assessment as a WHO action.
The UEMS PRM Board promoted the achievement of standards in PRM education through different actions, such as:
- Publication of the European Training Requirement in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (April 2019).
- Creation of an educational platform where online courses are delivered to PRM trainees, and a large amount of didactic material and relevant papers are uploaded.
- A system of certifications for PRM trainees and doctors, Trainers, Directors of PRM training and Training centers.
A strong contribution has been given by the UEMS PRM Section and Board to the Cochrane Rehabilitation Initiative, through the revision and approval of the Cochrane Rehabilitation Political and Educational Summaries to be included in CR E-book.