Continuing medical education and professional revalidation in Europe: Five case examples

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Introduction:Since reliable information is scarce to describe continuing medical education (CME) and revalidation in Europe, we carried out a survey in 5 selected countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom).Methods:A tested questionnaire was sent to 2 experts per country (except in Germany), during August–September 2004.Results:In the analyzed countries medical societies, medical associations, and employers are the main CME providers. Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship accounts on the average for more than 50% of the CME financing in those countries. In all 5 countries, CME accreditation systems exist; the national health authorities and medical associations are mainly responsible for them. In France, Italy, and Germany CME is mandatory; in Spain and the United Kingdom it is voluntary. CME credits/points are mainly used for professional career purposes. Revalidation systems have not been introduced in any of these countries, although in the United Kingdom it is being introduced as part of a relicensing process.Discussion:Recommendations for the implementation of a European system of CME/CPD harmonization are made by the authors.

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