World Health Professions Regulation Conference is one month away

22 March 2018 Event

WHPRC 2018

The World Health Professions Regulation Conference (WHPRC), taking place on 19-20 May in Geneva, Switzerland, will discuss current challenges in health professional regulation and the best approach to take in the public interest.

A global platform for shared learning and discussion

Speakers will offer expert perspectives on issues ranging from competence-based regulation to mutual recognition procedures, a topic that will be brought to life by Dr Margot Skinner, Vice-President of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy. Dr Skinner will share her experiences of the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (TTMR) arrangement, which has allowed health professionals in Australia and New Zealand to practice in either country without the need for further study or assessment.

Dr Ardis Hoven from the World Medical Association will chair a session dedicated to discussions around setting the right standards in regulation.

Mutual recognition: helping professionals move more freely

Since the late 1990s, registered pharmacists, dentists and physical therapists have been able to practice their profession in Australia and New Zealand with relative ease thanks the TTMR arrangement. It is not an automatic process; however, individuals must apply, obtain ‘good standing’ from their existing authority, and pay any applicable fee.

"The agreement requires professionals to register with authorities, so they don’t have to jump through all the same hoops to practice."
Dr Margot Skinner, Vice-President of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy, and a speaker at the WHPRC 

Dr Skinner will share her experiences around mutually agreed thresholds for professional standards and describe the benefits of the TTMR arrangement. She highlights that it enables the professional workforce from each of the two countries to come from a bigger pool. Professionals are also able to undertake courses and post-graduate qualifications without the usual barriers. The arrangements have generally worked well for Australia and New Zealand because both have similar standards for health and well-being.

"The bigger challenge is for countries where standards for education of health professionals are not the same."
Dr Margot Skinner, Vice-President of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy, and a speaker at the WHPRC 

Regulation: striking the right balance

According to Dr Hoven, the regulation of health professions is increasingly perceived as an economic issue or as a question of power. Some professionals see regulation as a means to limit their professional freedom. Others, such as insurers and managed care companies, view it as an unwelcome expense, since obeying rules costs time and money.

"Regulation necessarily means… setting limits and demanding checks and balances. Striking a balance between personal choices… and obligations towards safety, highest quality and equity is difficult and requires justification. Standards can help provide a level playing field for all involved, including both fair and appropriate processes."
Dr Ardis Hoven, World Medical Association, and chair of a session at the WHPRC 

Dr Hoven will also moderate a panel discussion exploring barriers to the implementation of regulatory standards. She sees such barriers as including political and commercial interference, inadequate understanding of professional autonomy and regulation, and a high degree of resistance to change. 

Register online and save

Registration for the WHPRC is open until 14 May. Scheduled immediately before the World Health Organization’s World Health Assembly, the WHPRC will provide a unique opportunity for health professions to share ideas and discover new regulatory approaches to improve patient care. The WHPRC is hosted by the World Health Professions Alliance, of which FDI is a member.

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