History of UEMS

UEMS Presidents Dr Hannu Halila, Dr Zlatko Fras, Dr Len Harvey, Dr Romuald Krajewski, Prof. Cillian Twomey

On 20 July 1958, the representatives delegated by the professional organisations representing medical specialists in the six member countries of the very new European Community (EEC) convened in Brussels and created the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS). Thanks to the discernment of its founders and through the impetus given by the French gynaecologist Jacques Courtois, first President (1958-1968), and by the Belgian ORL Oscar Godin, Secretary General (1958-1968), UEMS soon established contacts with the concerned authorities of the EEC (notably with J.-P.de Crayencour, former European Commissioner) and defined the basic principles in the field of medical specialist training in Europe.

European Medical Specialists

UEMS tackled straightaway the problem of quality, trying to obtain from the European Commission and the Member States a high level of training for the future European medical specialists in the Six Common Market countries. This vision of the future resulted in the elaboration of common general criteria, applicable to all specialists wishing to move from one member country to another.

Specialist Training

To realise this ambitious objective, UEMS created in 1962 Specialist Sections for each of the main disciplines practised in the Member States. These groups of experts, made up of representatives of the national associations of the specialties concerned, carried out a considerable workload with the idea of coordinating and harmonising specialist training and criteria for the recognition of medical specialists. UEMS and its Sections developed their action in constant cooperation with other European Medical Organisations, such as the Standing Committee of European Doctors.

The first European Directives concerning medical doctors, published only in 1975, were quite largely inspired by the proposals and the surveys presented by UEMS and realised through its Specialist Sections.

ACMT, Advisory Committee on Medical Training

The successive enlargements of the EEC resulted in the need to improve the statements of the ``Doctors` Directive`` that were ready to be published. These also led to important changes in the bodies and composition of UEMS. Moreover, the number of UEMS Sections progressively increased to reach 37 in October 2004.

Following the entry into force of the ``Doctors` Directive``, the Advisory Committee on Medical Training (ACMT) was set up by the European Commission. This Community body was destined to link European professional medical organisations, universities and national governments with the European Commission.

UEMS was deeply involved in the consultations launched by this body: UEMS Sections took part in consultations launched in 1980 and 1981. Each Section reported on its conceptions and proposals with regard to the evolution of their specialty. This consultation was organised at the initiative of Dr Pierre Pouyaud (F), President of UEMS and ACMT (1968-1982), and Dr. Guy Des Marez (B), Secretary-General of UEMS (1980-1990), and led to the publication of the second and third Reports on the training of medical specialists.

As from 1990, UEMS created European Boards as working groups of Specialist Sections, in order to guarantee optimal care by bringing the training of medical specialists to the highest level possible. In this framework, European Charters were elaborated on various issues such as the training of medical specialists, the quality in specialist medicine or the autonomy of practice of medical specialists.

Specialist Medical Care

In 1999, the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME) was set up by UEMS in Vienna and started operating in January 2000. The aim was to harmonise and improve the quality of specialist medical care in Europe through increasing the mobility of health professionals. In the fields of Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD), EACCME will pursue this objective by ensuring accessibility to quality CME activities and securing European exchange of CME credits for the medical specialists in Europe.

UEMS also showed itself very active in many issues at EU level. These include the consolidation of the ``Doctors` Directive`` into the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications. UEMS also followed other European matters such as services in the internal market, the organisation of working time or the safety and mobility of patients.

UEMS Executive Committees since 1958


1958-1968    Dr Jacques COURTOIS (France)
1968-1982    Dr Pierre POUYAUD (France)
1982-1987    Dr Manfredo FANFANI (Italy)
1987-1993    Dr Alexandre KUTTNER (Germany)
1993-1999    Dr Leonard HARVEY (Untied Kingdom)
1999-2002    Dr Cillian TWOMEY (Ireland)
2002-2005    Dr Hannu HALILA (Finland)
2006-2011    Dr Zlatko Fras (Slovenia)
2012- 2019   Dr Romuald Krajewski (Poland)

2020 - ...       Prof. Vassilios Papalois (United Kingdom)

Secretaries General

1958-1968    Dr Oscar GODIN (Belgium)
1968-1979    Dr Hubert DELUNE (Belgium)
1980-1990    Dr Guy DES MAREZ (Belgium)
1990-1999    Dr Robert PEIFFER (Belgium)
1999-2002    Dr Cees LEIBBRANDT (The Netherlands)
2002-2011    Dr Bernard MAILLET (Belgium)
2012- 2015   Dr Edwin Borman (United Kingdom)
2015-2019    Prof. Vassilios Papalois (United Kingdom)

2020- ...        Dr João Grenho (Portugal)

Liaison Officers

1958-1968    Dr C. VAN NIEUWENHUIZEN (The Netherlands)
1968-1980    Dr H. VAN GIFFEN (The Netherlands)
1980-1984    Dr H. WINTERS (The Netherlands)
1984-1990    Dr A. SIMONS (The Netherlands)
1990-1996    Dr Pierre FÉDI (France)
1996-1999    Dr Cees LEIBBRANDT (The Netherlands)
1999-2005    Dr Leonard HARVEY (United Kingdom)
2006-2011    Dr Gerd Hofmann (Germany)
2012-2019    Dr Zlatko Fras (Slovenia)

2020-...         Dr Romuald Krajewski (Poland)


1958-1965    Dr Paul MUNDELEER (Belgium)
1965-1968    Dr Hubert DELUNE (Belgium)
1968-1973    Dr Joseph VAN ESPEN (Belgium)
1973-1980    Dr Guy DES MAREZ (Belgium)
1980-1990    Dr Paul ROOSE (Belgium)
1990-2002    Dr Jean-Claude SCHAACK (Luxembourg)
2002-2008    Dr Vincent LAMY (Belgium)
2009-2015    Dr Giorgio Berchicci (Italy)
2015-2019    Dr Bernard Maillet (Belgium)

2020- ....       Dr Othmar Haas (Austria)