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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
News article4 March 2024Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs1 min read

Modernising minimum training requirements for nurses, dental practitioners, and pharmacists across the EU

Today, the European Commission adopted a delegated directive that revises the minimum training requirements for nurses responsible for general care, dental practitioners, and pharmacists under the Professional Qualifications Directive.

This reform is aimed at modernising the EU-level minimum training conditions for these professions, ensuring they are aligned with scientific and technological advancements and evolving needs of the healthcare sector in Europe.

With almost 4 million practising nurses, close to 400 000 practising dentists and over 400 000 practising pharmacists, these 3 professions represent a significant part of the European healthcare workforce and are among the most mobile professions within the EU.

This reform underscores the Commission’s commitment to addressing the healthcare sector’s needs and promoting the free movement of professionals.

The Professional Qualifications Directive contains agreed minimum training requirements that apply across the EU for a number of professions, including general care nurses, dental practitioners and pharmacists. These requirements concern, among others, the minimum knowledge, skills and competences that must be acquired in professional training.

Based on these minimum requirements, EU countries recognise professional qualifications for cross-border access to these regulated professions automatically.

Acknowledging the evolution these professions have undergone since the introduction of the minimum training requirements, the Commission initiated a series of studies between 2020 and 2022 involving relevant stakeholders at national and EU level, such as training institutions, competent authorities and professional organisations. These studies assisted the Commission in the evaluation of the developments in training of general care nurses, dental practitioners, and pharmacists in all EU countries and in the preparation of the current update.

Following the adoption of a delegated directive by the College of Commissioners today, a two-month scrutiny period has started. Following this, the delegated directive would enter into force upon the twentieth day after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

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