The Structure, Aims and Agenda of the UEMO
European Union of General Practitioners (UEMO) is an organisation of the most
representative national, nongovernmental, independent organisations representing general
practitioners in the countries of Europe. Founded in 1967 by the national organisations in
Belgium, France, Germany, Holland and Italy, the Union quickly grew to encompass
organisations from all the current Member States of the European Union as well as from the
countries of the European Free Trade Association and other European countries
The principal objectives of UEMO are:
to study and promote the highest
standard of training, practice and patient care within the field of general practice
to defend the
role of general practitioners in the healthcare systems;
the ethical, scientific, professional, social and economic interests of European general
practitioners, and to secure their freedom of practice in the interest of their patients;
the united views of the members and to represent them through the appropriate channels to
the relevant European authorities and international organisations;
to work with
other European medical groupings, such as the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME),
to strengthen the position and unanimity of the medical profession in Europe in order to
maintain the highest possible standards of education, ethics and patient care. Among the
organisations with which UEMO co-operates are the European Union of Medical Specialists
(UEMS), the Permanent Working Group of European junior Doctors (PWG), the European Society
of General Practice/Family Medicine, and the World Health Organization (WHO). Since 1992,
UEMO has official, non-governmental, consultative status with the Council of Europe.
Presidency and Secretariat
The Presidency and Secretariat function of the UEMO rotates from member organisation to
member organisation on a four-yearly basis. Starting in Belgium, the host organisation for
UEMO moved to The Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal,
Italy and Sweden. On 1 January 2002 the Swedish delegation assumed the Presidency and
Secretariat function for the period 2002-2006.The Presidency of UEMO consists of the
President, the Secretary-General and the Treasurer from the host country. In addition,
four Vice-Presidents are attached to the Presidency.The order of rotation of the
Presidency and Secretariat is decided by the General Assembly. The four Vice-Presidents
are also elected for a four-year term of office and are not re-eligible.
Secretary-General and Treasurer are responsible for implementing the decisions of the UEMO
General Assembly, preparing meetings of the General Assembly, conducting the daily work of
UEMO, and maintaining contacts between UEMO and the relevant European authorities, the
Standing Committee of European Doctors and other international organisations. The
Vice-Presidents are responsible for advising and assisting the Presidency in planning and
analysing UEMO work and policy and, at the request of the President, representing UEMO at
international meetings and on other occasions.Except by special dispensation, all
political officers of UEMO must be general practitioners active in medical practice.
UEMO normally meets in General Assembly twice a year, in spring and autumn. The General Assembly is presided over by the President and
organised by the UEMO Secretariat. An extraordinary General
Assembly must be
called if requested by three delegations. The General Assembly consists of up to six
delegates and alternate delegates from each of the member organisations, under the
leadership of a head of delegation. Each member organisation has one vote in the Plenum
and the President is not entitled to vote. The General Assembly is empowered to make all
relevant political and organisational decisions concerning UEMO.In addition, meetings of
UEMO working groups are held in connection with the General
and, in between meetings of the General Assembly, non-statutory meetings of
UEMO Presidency are scheduled to consider matters of current interest in UEMO and to
prepare for the meeting of the General Assembly. UEMO policy is preperd by
the Working Groups of the organisation.
In 1990 and 1991, UEMO adopted an official Policy Statement. This includes: a definition
of general practice; policy on the content of vocational training; the implementation of
vocational training; continuing education in general practice; quality assessment;
practice organisation; remuneration of services provided by general practitioners;
structures of general medical care; the patient-doctor relationship; and professional
responsibility. The policy framework put forward in this document functions as a working
guideline for the ongoing activities of UEMO in each of the fields covered. The policy
document continues to expand to keep pace with new developments.
Other UEMO activities
UEMO has been active in a number of areas, most specifically in the area of specific
training for general practitioners, as well as cancer training in CME, quality
assurance, and computers in general practice. Currently it is at work on another major
project to investigate the status of women in the field of general practice. In 1997, UEMO
celebrated its 30th anniversary at meetings in Killarney and Limerick, Ireland, where
consideration was given to the tasks facing general practice in the future.
In addition to the UEMO Handbook and UEMO Reference Books, the following
publications are currently available from UEMO:The future of general practice in Europe
Copenhagen 1992, 73pp Policy statement of the UEMO Copenhagen 1992, 10pp Criteria
for general practitioners trainers Copenhagen 1993, 7pp Proceedings: consensus
conference on cancer training for general practitioners Copenhagen 1991,74pp Consensus
document on cancer training for general practitioners with introduction by the UEMO
President and Vasso Papandreo, Member of the EC Commission. Published by the EC Commission
and distributed by UEMO, 1992, 26pp Statutes of the UEMO Copenhagen 1992, 17pp Proceedings
of the UEMO consensus conference on specific training and cancer training for general
practitioners 1994 Proceedings of the Conference of Women in General Practice, 1997.
On the UEMO
The important work with Equal Opportunities concerns discrimination on basis
of gender, race, religion and handicap. The working group was formed in 1997
and is now a standing committee.
A clear distinction between Public Health and GP-tasks in deprived areas can
help diminish the workload of the GP. As for preventive and educational
measures effective cooperation between the two is necessary in all
significant areas. Extra funding is also necessary to facilitate the working
conditions of GP's working in deprived areas. For more information: UEMO
Healthy living includes good nutrition, a tobacco-free lifestyle, regular
physical exercise and a supportive environment. The UEMO has an important
role in advocating policies that could lead to better health status of the
population. The UEMO Consensus Document UEMO 2002/103 is a call for further
action in Prevention and Health Promotion.
Each year, tobacco causes some 4 million premature deaths, with 1 million of
these occurring in countries that can least afford the health care burden.
By the year 2030, tobacco is likely to be the world's leading cause of death
and disability, killing more than 10 million people annually.
Effective tobacco control requires a diverse array of strategies including
research, policy and programmatic components. Strategies must be
comprehensive, developed and coordinated to work together and compliment
those implemented at the local, national and international levels. For more
information about The UEMO Policy Statement on Tobacco Control: UEMO
2003/059. For more information about the Role of General Practitioners in
Tobacco Prevention: UEMO 2003/060.
Preventive Activities focusing on children and youth
The years of adolescence are often thought of as the years of life with the
best mental and physical health and the lowest need for health services.
Although this is true for the largest part of the teenager generation, it is
well documented that a substantial part of them also suffer from different
health problems and worries.
Loneliness, depression, suicidal- or self-harming behaviour, eating
disorders, victims of violence or accidents, eating disorders, sexually
related diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and alcohol- and drug abuse are
examples of health-problems which are prevalent in the adolescent period of
A specialty equal to other specialties
One of the most important tasks for the UEMO is to guarantee good health
care together with the other specialties. To meet the demands of the future
there is a need for high competence in General practice/Family medicine. The
UEMO therefore works for General practice/Family medicine to be recognized
as a specialty equal to other specialties. (UEMO 2002/160).