Conference - 17 November 2017 -  Brussels

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Regulating health professions in a European perspective




Background document
Report of Policy Dialogue
(May 2017)


  Scope and purpose


The access to and pursuit of health professions in Belgium has since 1967 been regulated by the Royal Decree No.78. Throughout the years, this legal framework became increasingly intertwined with the regulations governing conditions for reimbursement of the care provided. After 50 years, the legislation will now be revised to better reflect developing societal needs, new approaches to healthcare provision and new insights in medical science.

The new Belgian legal framework will take a more patient-centred approach, redefine the legal division of responsibilities between the different health professions and revise the underlying quality assurance frameworks. It also needs to adapt to the changed institutional constellation, with powers being shared across different policy levels. Not only did the Belgian 6th state reform transfer important aspects of the organization and supervision of health professions to the federated entities, also EU rules significantly determine the remaining scope for national regulation. The EU Directive on professional qualifications grants health professionals who are trained in one Member State the right to practice in any other Member State. Furthermore, even if the regulation of health professions is a national prerogative, any condition to which the authorisation to practice is made subject, needs to respect the principles of non-discrimination and proportionality. Finally, also international trends of standardisation and accreditation are likely to impact policy making in this field.

This conference will position the developments and reforms in Belgium within a broader European perspective. It will look at the experience of other EU Member States and explore in more detail how EU integration affects the organisation and regulation of health professions. We will more specifically discuss the impact of professional mobility on national workforce planning policies and how Member States can ensure quality and patient safety in a European and international context.