Gastroenterological training differs so greatly from country to country in Europe it is impossible to believe that training is equally good in each one. This in turn, provides a barrier to the free migration of doctors with the European Community. These differences also create confusion for migrating patients, and call into question the validity of the European Commission directives, which pronounce all qualifications obtained in European Community countries to be equally acceptable within the community. The European Commission does not have the power to unify medical training, but the medical profession itself acting in concert as a European body could harmonise the differences to ensure acceptable standards of training across the community. The Union of European Medical Specialists (UEMS) is the representative body of national medical specialists bodies, which reports to the European Commission. The European Board of Gastroenterology, a working party of the Gastroenterology Section of the UEMS has agreed acceptable and fair standards of training for gastroenterologists, and has developed a system for external assessment of training centres and faculty. All three, candidates, faculty, and centre would, in the event of a successful application, be awarded the European Diploma of Gastroenterology or, in full, the Diploma of Recognition of Quality of Training in Gastroenterology. This paper discusses these problems, some of their origins, and the proposals of the European Board.
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