ESHRE's provision of education and learning needs a helping hand

Published 19 December 2018

In his final blog of 2018 ESHRE Chairman Roy Farquharson looks at ESHRE's stakeholder partners in the development of Campus educational courses and in the spread of quality healthcare in reproduction.

The intensity of educational commitments means that ESHRE continuously plans, organises and supports many Campus workshops and Working Group meetings throughout the year, especially during the autumn months. Although this activity will always remain a core area for ESHRE, there are several stakeholders with whom ESHRE interacts and who are vital to a healthy educational environment.

Continuing professional development (CPD), also known as continuing medical education (CME), has become a cornerstone for all of us who work as professionals in reproductive medicine and biology. It is essential for us to update, refresh and maintain skills that are acquired on a continuous timeline throughout our careers. It is taken for granted that we seek out those meetings with a mark of quality, CPD-CME accreditation, which has only been with us since its introduction by the European Union of Medical Specialist (UEMS) in 2000. It would be unthinkable today to arrange an international meeting without this level of educational approval as a mark of quality assurance.

The recent UEMS CPD conference demonstrated that the demand for CPD-CME accreditation is ever increasing, with now more than 1900 applications per year. Each application is reviewed by two experts deemed competent in the relevant field and recruited from a host of participating countries (currently 25). The time-consuming application process has been a thorn in the side of societies, and the existence of UEMS trusted provider status may help reduce this onerous administrative burden. Nonetheless, a large audience of over 400 delegates ensured that UEMS was listening to what their member societies wanted and how to respond to challenges in future.

A further significant event in Brussels this November was the EU Health Summit, which brought together several stakeholders focussed on raising the profile of healthcare strategies to reduce wasteful spending and meeting the challenges of an ageing population - and, significantly for ESHRE, declining national total fertility rates and their demographic impact.

Finally, ESHRE was a key stakeholder in initiating the first ever WHO Global Summit on safety and access to fertility care, which took place in Geneva in early December. ESHRE’s support was clearly evident in delivering and responding to improved fertility services in low to middle income countries. As a result, WHO has now constructed a call-for-action plan; it is currently in draft form, with a completion date in early 2019.

Let us hope that these events lead to an improvement in how we prioritise fertility care and spread education and learning into our wider community.