European Neuromuscular Core Curriculum update July 2011
One of the aims of the ENMC in the TREAT-NMD project is to address the need to formalise and harmonise training and education requirements within Europe. One of these needs concerns the development and implementation of a European Neuromuscular Core Curriculum (NMCV) to allow neurologists and other clinicians across Europe to sub-specialise in neuromuscular disorders. The general neurology training for neurologists across Europe is relatively standardised (see Chapter 6 of the CHARTER on TRAINING of MEDICAL SPECIALISTS in the EU. REQUIREMENTS for the Speciality Neurology), but to date there has not been an agreed neuromuscular fellowship programme and the current initiative plans to address this.
The NMCV is a one-year fellowship programme aimed at neurologists and other clinicians (e.g. paediatricians, clinical geneticists, neurophysiologists) who have already completed their general neurology or equivalent speciality training and who want to sub-specialise in neuromuscular diseases. A similar scheme has been in place in the US for some time. There are many excellent neuromuscular fellowships already in place throughout Europe but to date there has not been an agreed Europe-wide curriculum or a Europe-wide certification of such a curriculum.
At the start of this initiative in 2007, a taskforce was set up to compare and review existing neuromuscular fellowship programmes in Europe and the US. The discussion within this working group and with the learned societies, both within the different countries and at international level, resulted in the approval in 2010 of a document including a minimum set of requirements both for the trainees and the sites offering the training for the NMCV.
The approved minimum set of requirements was sent out to these European representatives (workforce members and national learned societies) in order to start the implementation process of the fellowship programme in their respective countries. At present, the NMCV is endorsed by the following learned societies or other bodies involved in neuromuscular education and training:
- Belgium: Belgian Neurological Society
- Czech Republic: the Czech Neuromuscular Society
- Poland: Polish Neurological Society
- Slovakia: the Slovak Neuromuscular Society
- The Netherlands: the Dutch Neuromuscular Research Centre
- Turkey: The Council of Higher Education in Turkey approved the ‘Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders Master of Science Program’ at Haceteppe University
- United Kingdom: British Myology Society and the British Peripheral Nerve Society.
The implementation process of the NMCV is a quite complex matter that still requires time and a varied approach based on different strategies depending on the country.
Currently the core curriculum is being discussed and disseminated at various levels by local representatives and more countries are in the process of endorsing it. While Europe-wide approval through a UEMS recommendation for acquiring ‘Particular qualification in neuromuscular disorders’ is being sought, individual countries are already offering fellowships based on the agreed curriculum and a database is currently being compiled of these. Ideally in the short term every country aims to get the appropriate national agreement for the curriculum and to try to get national funding in place. Eventually the aim is for the curriculum to be approved at European level with funding available from Europe as well as from national sources.
The involvement of the international societies such as ENS, EFNS, and in particular UEMS (European Union of Medical Specialists) will be critical in the future for the successful implementation of this inititiave and discussions will all these societies are ongoing.
The goal of this initiative is to have a pan-European agreed, approved and funded neuromuscular fellowship programme so that in the future clinicans who complete a succesful fellowship programme will have achieved an agreed acceptable level of expertise to be recognised as a neuromuscular sub-specialist throughout Europe.