European working group of practitioners and specialists in free practice
We are the only European Association exclusively representing the interests of practitioners and specialists in free practice.
The E.A.N.A was founded in 1974 by practitioners in free practice of nine European countries: Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, France, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. In the meantime, the following countries have joined the E.A.N.A: Sweden, Greece, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, and Portugal. The E.A.N.A members are medical organizations, but individuals, too, may apply for membership. Cooperation is not limited to the concerns of practitioners and specialists in free practice of Member States of the European Union, as outlined in the report of the meeting held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2004.
It is the objective of the E.A.N.A to thoroughly exchange experience on the structures of the individual healthcare and social systems and to exchange information on current developments in health and social policy in the various countries. At the same time, new forms of ambulatory medical care, as for instance, integrated care, different forms of cooperation in medical practice and cooperation with other health professions are being explored and developed.
Furthermore, E.A.N.A. very early has dealt with a definition of primary medical care in highly industrialized European countries, based on the WHO Declaration of Alma-Ata of 1978. The consultations were based not only on the Declaration of Alma-Ata, but also on a definition developed in Switzerland, applicable to all highly developed countries:
The definition of primary care is still under discussion. It goes without saying that it requires permanent adaptation to progress in medicine and to the needs of the population, including psycho-social care.
Cost-containment in healthcare affects all practitioners and specialists in free practice in all European countries. And it may even cause imminent existential threat and restrict medical autonomy of practitioners and specialists in their capacity of liberal profession. It was very early that the E.A.N.A has developed a definition of liberal medical profession, applicable to all practitioners and specialists in free practice, irrespective of the social security and health insurance system they work in.
Quality assurance in ambulatory medical care takes place at different levels: first of all, in medical training and professional development, and it does not end with continuing medical education, as it also includes the evaluation of services. In addition, the E.A.N.A. claims that young doctors in training acquire knowledge in prevention, health education and in rehabilitation.
Prevention, health education, quality assurance, development of new structures for the provision of ambulatory care by practitioners and specialists in free practice in cooperation with other health professionals, ambulatory home care for the elderly, integrated care, will be the issues for future consultations.
Since 1989, the E.A.N.A has had observer status in the European Forum of Medical Associations and WHO. This has led to contacts with Hungarian and Czech practitioners and specialists in free practice in the early 1990ies. Based on these contacts, the E.A.N.A organized specific symposia on the various European healthcare and social insurance systems.
Since November 2002, the E.A.N.A. has been represented in the steering group of the CPME (Standing Committee of European Doctors).