Palliative care is a medical specialty in 18 out of the 53 European countries. This is the main result of a recently published report entitled Specialisation in Palliative Medicine for Physicians in Europe 2014, a supplement of the EAPC Atlas of Palliative Care in Europe launched in 2013. It has been promoted by the ATLANTES programme of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), the Accademia delle Scienze di Medicina Palliativa and the European Association for Palliative Care.
The study was presented in the eighth EAPC World Research Congress that took place between the 5 and 7 june in Lleida.
The document collects reports on the main features of the specialisation process in every country and date the countries obtained certification: United Kingdom (1987), Ireland (1995), Poland (1999), Romania (2000), Malta (2003), Czech Republic (2004), Germany (2004), Finland (2007), France (2008), Georgia (2008), Latvia (2009), Norway (2011), Israel (2012), Italy (2012), Slovakia (2012), Hungary (2013), Portugal (2013) and Denmark (2014). These countries are as well compared with other three leading countries in health issues: Australia (2004), U.S.A (2006) and Canada (2014).
As can be seen, 10 out of 18 countries have recognised the specialty, sub-specialty or field of competence status within the last 5 years. There is a clear trend in establishing the specialty in this area as a main requirement to obtain a post in the Health System, though it is not yet mandatory in the majority of the countries.
Educational curriculum unification in Europe
A previous clinical specialty is required for accessing the programmes: in five countries it is not specified exactly which whereas in eight countries a specialty access list or a prior professional experience in Palliative Care is required for entering the process. This length of the process may vary but the most frequent duration is from one to two years. It is to be pointed out as well the great heterogeneity of the educational curriculum that results in a large variety of certification processes. The EAPC faces the challenge of promoting a quality assessment in order to increase the recognition of Palliative medicine as a new field of Specialisation in Europe.
The authors of the supplement are: Deborah Bolognesi, from the Fondazione Isabella Seràgnoli (Bologna, Italy); Carlos Centeno, main researcher of the ATLANTES programme and specialist in Palliative Care in the clinic University of Navarra; and Guido Biasco, of the University of Bologna and the Accademia delle Scienze di Medicina Palliativa (Bologna, Italy).
Specialisation in Palliative Medicine for Physicians in Europe 2014 can be donwload here and freely downloadable in the “ICS-ATLANTES” app.
Palliative medicine: Now a medical specialty in 18 European countries, EAPC blog, July 21, 2014