Professional mobility in Europe

The basis on which regulated healthcare professionals can exercise their rights of free movement within the European Single Market is set out in Directive 2005/36/EC on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications. This came into force in October 2007 and replaced all previously existing EC legislation in respect of the mutual recognition of qualifications.

Many European trained healthcare professionals are now choosing to spend some or all of their careers working in another European country. European health services benefit greatly from these professionals working and sharing their expertise in other European countries.

As the number of health professionals choosing to work in another European country from that in which they qualified, increases it is necessary that regulators efficiently manage the registration process in accordance with EC law.

Regulators (competent authorities) also need to be assured that the professionals they register are safe to practice and will not put patient safety at risk. This requires close administrative cooperation between member state regulators - including the effective sharing of information.

The Crossing Borders Portugal Agreement sets out an informal and voluntary framework for collaboration and cooperation between professional healthcare regulators in Europe, in the context of professional mobility.

Data on Professional Mobility in Europe

HPCB has collected data about healthcare professional mobility in Europe. The data represents the numbers of new, non-nationally-qualified, EEA healthcare professionals who have registered with individual European competent authorities between 2003 and 2008.

It contains information supplied to the HPCB secretariat by individual competent authorities about new registrations with their organisations. Not all professional healthcare regulators that participate in HPCB were able to supply figures, however a wide range of healthcare professions and EEA countries are represented.

The information annex can be viewed here.