Europe adopts vulnerable patient safeguard proposal, initiated by Salford Professor

Categories: School of Health and Society

Safeguarding guidelines to protect children and vulnerable adults proposed by the British Medical Association (BMA) have been adopted across Europe following a ruling by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS).

Dr Andrew Rowland

Initiated by Dr Andrew Rowland, former Head of the UK Delegation to the UEMS on behalf of the BMA, the guidelines promote the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable patients. They will be included in all future European Training Requirements, following lobbying by the BMA through the UK 2013-18 delegation to the UEMS.

The requirements call for departments in all medical specialties to have safeguarding policies in place, including how reasonable adjustments to care are made in order to accommodate vulnerable patients’ needs.

The guidance sets out the clinical competencies needed by healthcare professionals when treating children, adolescent and vulnerable adults, and will be applied to training programmes across all EU states.

Andrew, Honorary Professor (Children’s Rights, Law, and Advocacy) in the School of Health and Society said: “It is really great to hear that competencies for the safeguarding of vulnerable people will now be included in pan-European specialty training curricula for medical professionals across Europe thanks to this development by the UEMS and the BMA.

“I’m especially pleased that the work the UK Delegation began in 2013 to achieve this change has now come to fruition not least because this work aligns so well with one of the aims of our CYP@Salford Research Group – to improve the lives of children and young people, and to protect them from harm, wherever they live.

“Many congratulations, and sincere thanks, to my successor, Dr John Firth, as Head of the UK Delegation to the UEMS, for continuing the work the UK delegation undertook over a number of years. This is really positive news for vulnerable children and adults both in Europe and wider afield.”

Andrew completed his six-year term of office as Head of the UK Delegation in December 2019. His successor is Dr John Firth.

Andrew and John keep in close contact about developments within UEMS and in relation to medical training across Europe.

Dr Firth told the BMA: “The UK remains an active member in several European medical organisations. The BMA proposal was voted for and accepted in the recent UEMS council meeting and is an important step in recognising the competencies required in all medical specialties where they are treating the vulnerable child or adult.

“I would like to thank my predecessor Andrew Rowland and UK representatives Dame Sue Bailey and Brian Jacobs for their important contributions.”

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