The mutual recognition of professional qualifications across Europe
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The European Commission issued legislative proposals in December 2011 on revising the Professional Qualifications Directive 2005/35/EC.
The draft legislation covers proposals to:
- require a minimum of 12 years of general education or equivalent (rather than 10 years) to enter nurse education programmes, to acknowledge the increasing complexity and breadth of nursing roles over last 30 years
- maintain a minimum number of hours for nurse education programmes and commit to updating the list of content for these programmes
- confer greater ability for health regulators to test language competency of EU nurses
- provide easier access to advice for health professionals seeking recognition of their qualifications
- oblige health regulators to exchange information on health professionals who have been struck off or suspended through a secure electronic database (the International Market Information System).
RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Peter Carter says: "Nursing is a global profession and individual health professionals have every right to seek recognition and employment in another EU country... the RCN welcomes this proposal ... [but] we remain concerned about the lack of requirement to ensure professionals keep their skills up to date.
"As nurses are now delivering more complex levels of care it is vital that they are equipped with a good base level of education. For this reason the RCN strongly supports the move the require a minimum of 12 years' general education, or equivalent, to enter nurse education".
The RCN issued a press release on 19 December 2011 in response to the new legislative proposals, and later in February 2012 announced our formal position (PDF 99KB) on the proposals ahead of a debate in the European Parliament.
The Commission issued a Green Paper on the proposed legislation amendments in June 2011 and the RCN produced a briefing on the Green Paper (PDF 121.9KB). Over 1000 RCN members fed into an RCN response to the Commission’s Green Paper consultation (PDF 91.5 KB) which we submitted in September 2011.
The RCN has worked with its international partner organisations on this issue, and their responses are below:
- European Federation of Nurses' Associations (EFN)'s response to the Green Paper (PDF 554KB)
- European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)'s response to the Green Paper (PDF 423KB)
- European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)'s response to the Green Paper (PDF 69.4KB).
Current RCN work on the directive follows earlier analysis of a broader European Commission consultation on the same issue: