Chiropractic; first to obtain CEN standard

19 Apr 2012

What is CEN? You have probably seen the keymark “CEN” on a product you bought in the shop, but never found out what the meaning of the abbreviation meant.
The CEN (European Committee for Standardization) is an organization whose mission is to foster the European economy in global trading, the welfare of European citizens and the environment by providing an efficient infrastructure for the development, maintenance and distribution of coherent sets of standards and specifications. The keymark “CEN” is a voluntary European certification mark demonstrating compliance with the European Standard. The European Union (EU) officially recognizes CEN as a European standards body. I am happy to announce that Chiropractic is the first health profession ever to obtain such a standard in Europe. The former President of the ECU Philippe Druart has chaired this work since its beginning in 2008. Many congratulations to him and all our colleagues who contributed to its success. You can read his report here. We will publish the whole standard when it becomes official.

"This is a tremendous news for the profession, we have obtained 92.27% of the weighted votes of the national standardization bodies for the European Standard for the "healthcare provision by chiropractors". This is giving high respectability (comparable to ENQA on the academic side) for the profession in Europe, but it will also be a great tool for legal recognition in countries without legislation.

After the Formal Vote it takes another 1 month (until 9 May 2012) for ratification by CEN and additional 2 months (until 9 July 2012) for the definitive text to be made available by CEN (and consequently by the national standardization bodies for sale).

The European Chiropractors’ Union commenced work on this European Standard for the services of chiropractors back in 2008 and on 1 April 2009 the first meeting of chiropractic stakeholders took place in Vienna. Five further meetings followed, in Brussels, Madrid, Copenhagen, London and Paris. There was considerable debate on the educational standards of chiropractors and how they should be considered in the European Standard. Due to strict technical rules regarding the integration of external documents in the body of a Standard, the ECCE documentation was referred to in an informative annex and was strongly supported by an overwhelming majority of the ECU national association representatives. No other chiropractic educational quality assurance documents were submitted for consideration by any of the CEN Technical Committee's delegates.

Chiropractic is the first health profession ever to realise and obtain such a standard in Europe. Quite a few other health professions were expecting our result and are now working in the same direction. More and more, the EU legislation will refer to such standards in all subjects to harmonise products and services all over Europe. This is linked with the RPQ, recognition of professional qualifications, key subject for free circulation of professionals throughout Europe.

Due to the fact that there are still a few countries in Europe where there is no specific law on chiropractic, this standard will be the only reference in such countries, protecting the title all over the EU countries. Compliance with this standard will also be the prime requirement for opening a chiropractic clinic and for offering chiropractic services to the population where there is no legal national disposition.

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