Background The Union of European Medical Specialists (UEMS) seeks through its speciality Sections and Boards (S&B) to enhance the training of its doctors and to encourage and support the movement of doctors between countries. The Rheumatology S&B has delegates from all EU countries and has developed a document (European Training Requirements (ETR) – at uemsrheumatology.eu) that provides guidance about the rheumatology curriculum.
Objectives To determine:
1. The extent of use of the Rheumatology ETR by EU countries
2. The extent of use of logbooks in recording the progress of a trainee
3. If training centres are accredited
4. If national assessment programmes exist for trainees
5. If a country has quality assurance and enhancement processes in rheumatology training
Methods A questionnaire was sent to all S&B members asking questions in relation to all of the objectives with one follow-up questionnaire to non-responders. Verification of responses as well as obtaining responses from continuing non-responders occurred in December 2016.
Results Nineteen countries responded. Most (18/19) have developed and implemented their own curriculum, often with the influence of the ETR, and also are using a logbook to record the progress of trainees. Training Centres are required to undergo accreditation in 15/19 countries. Another three countries are planning to introduce this. One country does not have an accreditation programme. After accreditation only 8 countries have quality assurance (QA) and enhancement (QE) programmes. In one of these countries the QA and QE processes are variable. Two other countries are either discussing or developing such processes. In 14 countries trainees are assessed to determine their suitability to become specialists. In one of these countries the approach is variable. Two other countries are planning to introduce assessments. Three countries do not assess their trainees.
Conclusions Most EU countries have implemented their own, and varied, curricula for rheumatology training. All countries either use or are planning to use a portfolio, again variable in nature, to record trainees' progress. Thus, it appears that at present any pan-European standardised curriculum or logbook will be of limited utility.
Most countries require training centres to undergo accreditation. However, less than half of the countries have a continuation of quality assurance or quality enhancement processes after accreditation with some countries it seems having no plans to do so.
At present, a specialist in one European country is required by European law to be recognised as such in another. This study did not determine the nature of the assessments undertaken in different countries but this is not of current relevance within Europe as regards the possible movement of a doctor from one country to another for professional reasons.
Disclosure of Interest None declared