New Flemish medical commission to set specialisation limits

Summary

The body will be able to limit or encourage specialist training by doctors and dentists depending on patients’ needs in the region, beginning in 2021

Defining subquotas

The Flemish government has approved in principle the decision to create a medical planning commission. From September 2021, this commission will draw up a “subquota”, which defines how many doctors and dentists can begin further training to become specialists according to supply and demand in the region.

“This commission can better align the supply of doctors and dentists with the actual need in Flanders,” said Jo Vandeurzen, Flemish minister for health and welfare. “We can act against an over- or under-supply, with all the frustrations that brings for students and patients. For bottleneck specialisations, it gives us an extra instrument to encourage extra intake.”

Competence for the quotas of health professionals was transferred to the communities under the sixth state reform in 2011. Until now, a federal medical planning commission has been responsible for deciding the number of doctors and dentists who can begin training. This commission will continue to decide the total number of doctors in the country, but the Flemish commission will define the region’s own subquotas.

On the advice of the federal commission, Flanders’ planning commission will decide how many candidates are needed to enter training for particular job titles. This will in the first instance be directed at bottleneck specialisations such as geriatrics or child and adolescent psychiatry, and at specialisations with an oversupply, such as radiodiagnosis. Subquotas allow the intake for a training course that leads to very popular specialisations to be limited and the study of bottleneck specialisations to be encouraged.

The Flemish body will be composed of one group dealing with doctors and one dealing with dentists, made up of both generalists and specialists. The decision has been approved in principle and will now go before the Flemish Advice Council and the Council of State.

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