Minutes WONCA Europe Council Meeting, Lisbon 2014



Meeting venue: Centro de Congressos de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal



1.    Ilse Hellemann – Austrian Society of General Practice/Family Medicine

2.    Christel Foriers – Belgian Society of General Practitioners

3.    Danijel Atijas – Association of Family Physicians of Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina

4.    Dragomir Petric – The Croatian Association of Family Medicine

5.    Bohumil Seifert – Czech Society of General Practice

6.    Lars Gehlert Johansen – The Danish College of General Practitioners

7.    Rob Dijkstra – Dutch College of General Practitioners

8.    Ruth Kalda – The Estonian Society of Family Doctors

9.    Pekka Honkanen – The Finnish Association for General Practice

10.  Didier Duhot – Societe Francaise de Medecine Generale (SFMG)

11.  Pierre Lous Druais – CNGE Collège Académique France

12.  Tobias Freund – German Colleges of General Practitioners and Family Physicians

13.  Bodosakis Merkouris - Greek Association of General Practitioners ELEGEIA

14.  Proxy for Iceland Association of General Practice Marit Hermansen – Norwegian College of General Practitioners

15.  Mary Sheehan – Irish College of General Practitioners

16.  Shlomo Vinker – Israel Association of Family Physicians

17.  Ernesto Mola – Italian Scientific Association, ASSIMEFAC

18.  Jil Koullen – Luxemburgish Scientific Society for general Practice

19.  Jason Bonnici – Malta College of Family Doctors, The Family Practice

20.  Marit Hermansen – Norwegian College of General Practitioners

21.  Adam Windak – The College of Family Physicians in Poland

22.  Alexandre Gouveia – Portuguese Association of GP and FM

23.  Jason Bonnici – Association of GP/FM of Malta

24.  Rodica Tanasescu – Romanian National Society of Family Medicine

25.  Mirjana Mojković – Serbian Medical Association/ Section of General Practice

26.  Jana Bendova – The Slovak Society of General Practitioners

27.  Danica Rotar Pavlič – Slovenian Family Medicine Society

28.  Jose Miguel Bueno Ortiz – Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine

29.  Ferdinando Petrazzuoli – The Swedish Association of General Practice, SFAM

30.  Francois Heritier – Swiss Society of General Medicine SSMGSGAM

31.  Yesim Uncu – Turkish Association of Family Practitioners

32.  Victoria Tkachenko – The Ukrainian Association of Family Medicine

33.  Luisa Pettigrew – Royal College of General Practitioners

34.  Ines Balint – Croatian Family Physicians Coordination (KOHOM)



1.    Manfred Maier – Austrian Society of General Practice/Family Medicine

2.    Tanja Pekez-Pavlisko – Croatian Family Physicians Coordination (KOHOM)

3.    Vaclav Beneš – Czech Society of General Practice

4.    Athanasios Symeonidis – Greek Association of General Practitioners ELEGEIA

5.    Jean Pierre Jacquet – CNGE Collège Académique France

6.    Giorgio Visintin – Centro Studi e Ricerche in Medicina Generale, CSERMEG

7.    Maria Milano – Centro Studi e Ricerche in Medicina Generale, CSERMEG

8.    Jasmina Zareuska Popouska – Association of General Practice/Family Medicine Macedonia (AGPFMM)

9.    Milena Simovikj – Association of General Practice/Family Medicine Macedonia (AGPFMM)

  1. Luis Pisco – Portuguese Association of General Practitioners
  2. Peter Liptak – The Slovak Society of General Practitioners
  3. Peter Makara – The Slovak Society of General Practitioners
  4. Zalika Klemenc Ketiš – Slovenian Family Medicine Society
  5. Okay Basak – Turkish Association of Family Practitioners
  6. Mateja Bulc – EUROPREV
  7. Jim Reid – IPCRG


From the WONCA Europe Executive Board and WONCA Europe Office:

Job FM Metsemakers – President of WONCA Europe

Anna Stavdal – Vice President of WONCA Europe

Carl Steylaerts – Hon. Treasurer of WONCA Europe

Janko Kersnik – Hon. Secretary of WONCA Europe

Roar Maagard - EURACT representative

Mehmet Ungan – EGPRN representative

Andree Rochfort – EQUIP representative

Harris Lygidakis – VdGM Representative

Nina Štojs – WONCA Europe Secretariat


Guests: Prof Michael Kidd (WONCA World President), Prof Amanda Howe (WONCA World President Elect), Dr Garth Manning (WONCA World CEO), Dr Karen Flegg (WONCA World EB)



WONCA Europe website: http://www.woncaeurope.org/content/agenda-wonca-europe-council-meeting-2014-lisbon







1.    Welcome by the President

Job FM Metsemakers welcomed the Council, the WONCA World President and WONCA World Executive Board members.       


A round of short presentation of the Delegates followed.


2.    WONCA World Matters

WONCA World President Prof Dr Michael Kidd gave a short speech. He thanked for the invitation and congratulated for good work done in WONCA Europe member organisation. He gave us some details on his work as WONCA president and his observations on the state of the art of family medicine in many WONCA regions. He stressed some important achievements and topics in WONCA:

·         There has been a new WONCA World Executive Board since last year.

·         There is now a young doctors group in every WONCA region.

·         There is good process going on regarding the collaboration between WONCA and WHO organisations.

·         In the future communication channels within WONCA can be used even more than they used to be and this situation can be improved.


3.    5 Star Doctor Award 2014


Job FM Metsemakers presented the award process of WONCA-Europe award for excellence in health care and thanked the other members of the awards committee: Carl Steylaerts, Belgium, Athanasios Symeonidis, Greece, Ilse Helleman, Austria, Jose Miguel Bueno Ortiz, Sp. There were three 3 extraordinary candidates nominated this year, i.e. Dr Bas Houweling, The Netherlands, Dr Nato Shengelia, Georgia, Assistant Professor Dr Antonija Poplas Susič, Slovenia.  The winner of 5-Star-Doctor Award 2014 was awarded to Antonija Poplas Susič. She was invited to the awards ceremony at the closing ceremony of WONCA Europe Lisbon conference. She also became one of three WONCA Europe candidates for WONCA (World) award for excellence in health care 5-Star-Doctor Award which will be presented in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 WONCA World Council.


4.    Montegut Scholaship 2014:


Job FM Metsemakers presented the Montegut scholar award. American Board of Family Medicine Foundation and Montegut Global Scholars Program provides a USD 2,000 scholarship. The MGSP was established to foster international education, research and collaboration, in the specialty of family medicine. It will support the attendance of one family physician from each of the seven regions of the international organisation of family physicians (WONCA) to their regional meetings or to the international meeting in the year when it is held. WONCA Europe was entitled to select one also this year. There were four applications: Eralda Turkeshi, Albania, Mihai Sorin Iacob, Romania, Sandeep Shivanand Geeranavar, UK, and Sinan Mir, UK. The winner was Eralda Turkeshi. She was invited to the awards ceremony at the closing ceremony of WONCA Europe Lisbon conference.


5.    Procedure of the meeting


·         Determination of the Quorum:

The Council meeting had a quorum. There were 33 delegates including proxies out of 47 WONCA Europe member organisations (7 of 47 them had not paid their dues on time) present at the table, 31 had voting rights.

·         Papers for noting

WONCA Europe Executive had received a lot of reports and other materials that had been made available electronically through the Internet. Job FM Metsemakers explained that the list of the documents for noting posted on the WONCA Europe website, would not be presented during the meeting, but if any questions would have arose, the delegates could have addressed their questions to the responsible persons of the documents during the breaks.


6.    Approval of the Agenda

The meeting agenda was approved without any changes.


7.    Approval of the Minutes, Prague, June 2014

Job FM Metsemakers noted that minutes of the Prague Council meeting had been distributed and asked, if any matters were arising from the minutes. No matters arose from the previous minutes. Minutes of the WONCA Europe Prague Council meeting 2013 were approved as written.


8.    Honorary Treasurer’s Report

Carl Steylaerts presented his financial report on the budget for 2013, and the budget for the next triennium 2014 – 2016 (http://www.woncaeurope.org/content/item-8-report-honorary-treasurer-june-2014). Carl Steylaerts explained that the majority of the deficit arose from the absence of a European conference in 2013 with WONCA World conference in Europe that year. WONCA Europe ended with a deficit of -53,000 EUR, where we had projected a loss of -139,000 EUR. Following account items were responsible for that result:

·         Some payments were postponed – e.g. the Anniversary Project.

·         Some payments came in late from 2012 – e.g. EJGP.

·         Donations: actually mostly Vasco da Gama Movement money.

·         Interests were better than projected, due to a fixed 1 year deposit.


WONCA Europe ended 31 Dec 2013 with 292,865.43 EUR in bank and saving accounts. In June there are 200,000 EUR in a fixed deposit, our emergency fund, the rest savings accounts, 21,000 of which is the Vasco da Gama Movement own budget.


Carl Steylaerts also explained the audit report for 2012 and 2013. The auditors stated that WONCA Europe finances were in accordance with the annual financial plan and accounting has been correct. The budget report was accepted by Council (http://www.woncaeurope.org/content/item-8-report-honorary-treasurer-june-2014).


The projected budget for 2014-2016 was approved by the Council (Appendix 1).

Council accepted a possible small deficit in 2014.


9.    WESIGs renewal of agreements

All WONCA Europe Special interest groups sent their annual reports. WE EB agreed that all reports met the criteria and contracts will be renewed during the conference. WE EB will meet all WESIGs during the conference. There were no comments from the Council.


10.  WONCA Europe Future Plan

Anna Stavdal shortly presented the WONCA Europe Future Plan (http://www.woncaeurope.org/content/item-10-future-plan-council-2014). Council unanimously accepted the document.


11.  Group Sessions:

Participants then worked in three moderated groups dealing with questions and plans from the different groups.


Short break


12.  Sum up from the group sessions:

Topics pointed out in the groups:


Working group 1 (Roar Maagard) – CONFERENCES:

·         Creating discussion corners at conferences

·         Patients attending the conference

·         WONCA EB should have more influence on the organisation and content of the conference; the feeling of the participants is that WONCA is only a sleeping party of the conference organisation

·         Future Plan should be publicised at the conferences.

·         The idea to also organize pre-conferences and parallel discussion

·         The interested members gave their names and contact details to Roar Maagard so the ideas, a working plan, solutions and conclusions will be discussed further at EB to agree next steps.


Working group 2 (Janko Kersnik) – ENGAGE ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS

·         Country colleges have a role to lead, improve and demand the communication among all parties of General Practice in the country.

·         There is big importance of better communication between the University departments and trainers in the districts outside the University towns.

·         If there are several groups of GPs in one country they shouldn’t compete between themselves, but they need to collaborate and focus on the same goal.

·         Postgraduate institutions educating family doctors should also become members in collaboration with WONCA

·         The interested members gave their names and contact details to Janko Kersnik, so the ideas, a working plan, solutions and conclusions will be discussed further and presented to EB to agree next steps.


Working group 2 (Andree Rochfort) – STATEMENTS:

The group agrees we need to increase the visibility of WONCA Europe with statements.

o   The discussion focused on three aspects:

·         Process: part of the process of producing statements should include a search for existing documents from the WONCA regions and to check on current activities of other relevant WONCA working groups, etc., and to develop a template for submission of statement proposals, guidance on how to communicate the proposals and recognize that communication within WONCA council and with WONCA collaborators (such as WHO, UEMO, EFPC) is a valuable source of producing statements. We should decide who can submit proposals and how.

·         Content: proposals regarding electronic medical records, economic recession statements, and minimum standards of training and qualification for GP/FM were suggested by members of the group as examples of statements that could be considered.

·         Issuing of statements and follow up: There should be clarity about how WONCA Europe issues statements, and how to disseminate the statements through the website and other possible routes.

Finally, it was felt that the production of a statement has wider implications than a simple outcome of itself, as a statement may stimulate further significant interest and work on the topic.

The interested members gave their names and contact details to Andree Rochfort, so the ideas, a working plan, solutions and conclusions will be discussed further at EB to agree next steps.


13.  European Journal of General Practice

Anna Stavdal presented the journal and chief editor Jelle Stoffers to the Council. She stated that all Member Organisations are the owners and creators of the EJGP therefore we should secure the financial prospect of EJGP. EJGP is a journal of WONCA Europe. The funding plan will be presented at next Council meeting by WE EB.

Jelle Stoffers reported that EJGP crossed an important milestone when Impact factor was received. It is also very well accepted among readers, reviewers. In the future the plan is that EJGP would be open accessed to everybody - access to knowledge is the power.

All editors confirmed the collaboration for next five years, so the funding should be secured for the future.

Two questions for Jelle Stoffers arose from the Council:

·         Can the number of pages be extended?

Jelle Stoffers replied that the number of pages for now is sufficient and if the interest would increase we will then think of how to expand the number of pages.

·         Is the EJGP a competition to British Journal of GP?

Jelle Stoffers explained, that the competition can be a bit of a problem, however BJGP is a national journal with publications also on British specificity, but EJGP is purely international journal representing WONCA Europe.






14.  Recognition of Professional Qualifications in the European region

Agenda Topic Royal College of General Practitioners

Job Metsemakers gave the word to Luisa Pettigrew from RCGP. She explained to the Council the issue that there are no agreed minimum educational standards for Family medicine in EU and Family Medicine is not considered a speciality by the European Commission. Until now, this was the UEMO issue, but RCGP is keen for WONCA Europe to involve in the issue of improving the directive.

Job Metsemakers stated that this is a complex issue and the question for the Council was how far WONCA Europe should be politically involved.

The discussion started and there were following proposals form the Council:

·         to establish joint curriculum for the educational trainings

·         the main goal should be that Family medicine is recognised in all European countries

·         WONCA Europe should collaborate with UEMO

·         No medical specialist training should last less than 5 years

·         WONCA Europe should provide the statement on this issue, so MOs have some kind of support when they address the problem to national political bodies.

EURACT responded to the joint curriculum statement, that within the organisation the issue is being actively considered, but for now, there are no final conclusions, due to the complexity of the matter.

WONCA Europe Council accepted the EB proposition, that WONCA Europe will involve more and try to collaborate with UEMO more intensively but carefully. The tasks will be divided between UEMO and WONCA Europe in a diplomatic way.


15.  Future Conferences:

·         Portugal:

Alexandre Gouveia gave a short report on the present conference.

Few Facts: More than 3500 registered participants, around 35% of registered Young Doctors, Participants came from 73 different countries even from outside of Europe regions.

·         Istanbul 2015

In Istanbul WE will celebrate 20th anniversary and also 25th anniversary of TAHUD.

WONCA Europe EB got the letter from Turkish organizers that they wish to increase the registration fee for young doctors. WONCA Europe proposed that EB will try to reach a consensus with the organizers that they increase a registration fee for all participants and not (only) for Young Doctors, so the increase will be minor. Council accepted the proposal.

WONCA Europe EB (Anna Stavdal) will discuss this problem with the organizers in the coming days.

·         Future Conferences will have a contract including the registration fees  so we will not face the same issue again


16.  Bidding

Job Metsemakers explained to Council the internal problems in Slovakia that they should be aware of, when voting for the place of the 2017 Conference.

Janko Kersnik explained the bidding process and the criteria that the review of the bids was based on. The scoring was presented, however this framework wasneither binding nor decisive for MOs in WONCA Europe Council voting.

Czech, Greek and Slovakia bids were presented and voting followed.

31 delegates had voting rights. Out of 31 votes, 13 votes got Czech Society, 9 votes got Slovakian Society and Greece Society. Czech Society got the majority of votes, so the WONCA Europe Conference 2017 will be held in Prague (Appendix 2).

There were not any other comments.


17.  Next Council Meeting in Istanbul 2015

The next Council Meeting will be held in Istanbul before WONCA Europe conference 2015, October 22 (exact time of the day will be announced later).


18.  Any other business:

A letter with concrete request for help to recover from floods disaster in Bosnia and Herzegovina was sent to WONCA Europe by Danijel Atijas. Danijel Atijas thanked WONCA Europe for the expressed concern regarding the floods that happened in the country. WONCA Europe recognized difficult situation that appeared due to the heavy floods and will use the communication channels within the WONCA Europe and WONCA World organisation to send the appeal to member organization so each can help as they can.


19.  Closure of the meeting and invitation to join Vasco da Gama Movement on its 10th Anniversary celebration



The meeting was adjourned at 13.17.