First EPCCS Council starts off with country presentations on organisation of Primary Care
Representatives of fifteen European countries travelled to Stratford-upon-Avon in the United Kingdom to attend the first EPCCS Council. The EPCCS Council aims to connect the EPCCS board with GPs in different countries, and expand activities of EPCCS. To this end, representatives from countries across Europe got together to discuss how EPCCS can contribute to better primary cardiovascular care in Europe. All or most attendants are active in their national medical societies.
After a brief introduction on the past, present and future activities of the EPCCS, the attendants gave brief presentations on organization of Primary Care in their country, statistics on the number of GP’s, the successes and the challenges they face.
Core tasks of GP’s overlap between countries, although they do not have a gatekeeper role everywhere. Quite a bit of variation in the level of organization can be appreciated across countries, including financial organization, and in how special interest in CV disease takes form and how GP training in this area is provided.
A common denominator is that the burden of CV disease is very high, thus the role of primary care is very important in preventing and managing CV disease and its consequences. Facilities and licenses to prescribe treatment, however, vary per country. Several countries are going through an evolution from solo-practices towards pluri-professional teamwork/clinics. Currently, mostly young doctors work in these new structures, with supporting nursing services.
Many countries see roughly up to 2000 patients per GP practice. A clear exception is seen in rural areas in Slovakia where up to 3000-4000 patients may go to one GP, who may sometimes see 50-60 patients per day. Most attendants spoke of the problem of the aging situation, which, in combination with lack of resources and GP’s, places a big stressor on practicing GP’s.
National Societies for Primary Care exist in most countries, in some countries more than one, and some have dedicated sections for cardiovascular care. Activities of the societies vary, but include organising meetings, composing national guidelines, and/or translating international guidelines or adapting them to the local situation.
Already during this first introductory sessions, the justification for broadening the activities of EPCCS became clear. For instance, The Netherlands has a long-standing GP training programme, and others expressed an interest to view the outline of the curriculum. This could serve as a starting point to set up similar training in other countries. Moreover, Finland has great expertise in registry research, of which other countries could also benefit. Some countries (Ukraine and Slovakia) have already translated the EPCCS Guidance Documents, and more translations may follow, which will be posted on this website in the future. Today’s presentations with details on the organisation of primary care in each of the countries will also be made available on this website at a later stage.
The EPCCS Council Meeting will continue with workshops in which the attendants discuss which role the EPCCS Council can play in expanding EPCCS activities to support European primary care physicians. We will later report on the outcomes of the discussions and the plans for a stronger dialogue among GP’s in Europe.
Check #EPCCSCouncil on Twitter, or follow @EPCCS, to get further impressions of this first EPCCS Council Meeting.