Cross border health care in EuropeBMJ 2008; 337 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39398.456493.80 (Published 03 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a610
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I read with interest this article, which also pointed out the increasing
importance of maintaining minimum standards of clinical competence across
European borders, in an era of mobility without limits.
I would like to point out the importance of developing formal schemes of
cross-border postgraduate training.
Since I am a Portuguese GP registrar, I decided this year to become a
member of the Spanish Society of General Practice (semFYC), in order to
access training opportunities and educational resources that were not
available so easily at home, to network, and, ultimately, to become a
better, more skilled and knowledgeable professional. This happened by
chance, as I learned to realize the potential of cross-border training
opportunities, following on from a preliminary visit to the Madrid office of the
Spanish Society of General Practice, where I realized there was a massive
offer of free presencial courses and training for GP and GP trainees, that
could significantly enhance and complement my local training.
The following week, I was emailing the Madrid office to request my
membership, and a few weeks later I returned to Madrid to try out a Minor
Surgery course, something which I had wanted to do for a long time, but
never had the opportunity.
Since courses are for free, there are plenty of affordable low-cost
flights between Lisbon and Madrid, and I have friends to stay with in
Madrid, this informal scheme of cross-border training has worked really
well for me, and I am quite pleased. Hopefully, and for the sake of the
future of cross-border health care sole initiatives such as my own will
evolve into fully-fledged formal and official cross-border postgraduate
training schemes, with proper funding and protected time.
I recommend to everyone wishing to upgrade one's own postgraduate or
specialist training to look for cross border training opportunities. It is
immensely rewarding, fulfilling, and has far fewer consequences in one's
own personal and professional life than relocating overseas permanently.
Competing interests: No competing interests