EFN Members elect new governance positions and focus on Proportionality and AMR!

EFN Members elect new governance positions and focus on Proportionality and AMR!

Posted on October 17, 2017

The EFN Members elected by majority vote a new EFN President Elizabeth Adams from the Irish Nursing and Midwifery Organisation. Milka Vasileva from the Bulgarian Association of Health Professionals in Nursing continues as Treasurer as does Roswitha Koch from the Swiss Nurses Association as Executive Committee Member. Jana Slováková from the Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives is a newly elected Executive Committee Member and will also serve for a two-year term 2017-2019.


The EFN General Assembly discussed mainly Proportionality and exchanged views with DG Grow Head of Unit, Martin Frohn. Martin noted the importance and potential value of the Directive for the nursing profession as the proposed Directive focus is firmly placed within the context of improved regulation for the professions. The proposed Directive seats in the policy context of Directive 55, whereby to ensure high-quality healthcare and patient safety it is important to ensure regulation is fit for purpose – ‘proportionate’ is the technical term. As some governments have introduced legislation to downgrade the level of nurses without appropriate analysis of the potential effects on the public, transparent stakeholder involvement or evidence for and against is key. There is, therefore, a need for common criteria to guide Member States’ assessments of such regulation.


Martin also presented key elements of the proposed Directive. Specifically, Member States need to be clear and transparent in their impact assessment and ensure there is involvement of all interested and affected parties. The assessment should be evidence led, and its conclusions informed by that evidence. This is a methodology, a tool, a process evaluation – it does not dictate the outcome. It ensures the assessment is done in a systematic, inclusive and open manner. Any change or new initiative needs to be with a public interest objective – purely economic reasons are not adequate justifications. This argument is key for EFN as since 2008 we have only seen cuts in salaries and nurses being made redundant.


The EFN President expressed that this proportionality directive is a clear follow-up of the modernised Directive on Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (2013/55/EU), which has strengthened the development of nursing as a profession. As such, this new Directive can become an extra safeguard in trying to ensure that countries do not get around the minimum nurse education requirements by creating cheaper, lower qualified nurses, which are not ‘general care nurses’. This is already the case in some countries, where the professional qualifications directive is being flouted, with governments trying to bypass European legislation. Transparency and stakeholder engagement are key in the decision-making process, a concept which is more talked about than implemented. Regardless the political outcome in the European Parliament, the nurses value DG GROW unit’s hard work and commitment to work closely with EFN.


On Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), the EFN regrets DG Sante excluded the Healthcare professionals from substantial engagement in the AMR Joint Action, led by France. However, EFN Position Statement on Nurses Combatting AMR is very clear on nurses contribution to make antibiotic work. The European Commission updated ‘European One Health Action Plan against AMR (June 2017) and road maps to tackle the burden of AMR could be more ‘fit for purpose’ if frontline becomes integrated in the design and implementation. The EFN members contributed actively to the upcoming European antibiotic awareness day (18 November 2017) through clear video messages from EU nurses.