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Report from UEMS meetings and Thematic Federation for Green and Sustainable Medical Practise

 

The first of two meetings this year, 2023, with UEMS Psychiatry took place in a hot Oslo, the temperature approached 30 degrees. It was excellently arranged by Morten from Oslo and Morten from Bergen.



On the first day, there was information about the organization of psychiatry in Norway and how the training for specialists is organized. As expected, most of it was familiar to a delegate from the neighboring country to the east. Two notable facts may be worth mentioning. With the reservation that I misunderstood, it was mentioned that in some of the Psychiatric clinics in Norway, departments had been set up where the admitted could opt out of treatment with psychiatric drugs. This had been introduced following pressure from patient associations. When the neuropsychiatric diagnoses came up for discussion, it turned out that there are big differences between different countries in Europe.


Holland and Sweden stand out in that 25-30% of the patients at a general psychiatric clinic are individuals diagnosed with ADHD or autism spectrum disorder. In contrast, there are some countries in Europe where ADHD in adults is an almost unknown condition. One problem for ambition to harmonize education is the differences between the countries in Europe. Two areas that stand out is the place of psychotherapeutical training in education to become a specialist. The other area is compulsary treatment, where the practical way to do it differ a lot between countries. One aspect of compulsary treatment is that you meet a lot of strange arguments and defence mechanisms if you try to discuss it with professionals.


The day ended with a tour of Ullevåls mental hospital. We were given a tour and met by friendly and committed staff. Planning is underway to build a new psychiatric hospital and I urged my colleagues to study Sweden's newly built mental hospitals, to be either inspired or discouraged, depending on what attitude one has towards therapeutic houses.


UEMS meeting in Oslo, June 2023.
UEMS meeting in Oslo, June 2023.

The UEMS meeting then took place in The Doctors' House centrally located in Oslo. It was modern and functional, but cannot compare, in terms of both atmosphere and aesthetics, to the Medical Association's and Medical Society's houses in Stockholm. Although most people prefer to meet physically, the hybrid meeting is probably here to stay. This time it gave for the second time an observer from psychiatry in Ukraine the opportunity to participate.


The work on a curriculum for the education and training of specialists in psychiatry continues and discussion is held regarding forms of examination.


There is also discussion in smaller working groups and my place is in the group for communication. The group grapples with the question of how UEMS Psychiatry should reach out with information and create participation on a national level. We agreed that it is not only important to report the results of the internal work, but also to try to capture interesting future issues. Perhaps there could be a digital forum where new hypotheses, problems and experiences could be discussed. Examples of this are screen addiction, ADHD as a systemic disease, the psychological symptoms of mast cell activation syndrome, the place of psychotherapy in professional practice, what is a therapeutic building, etc.


Regarding reports from cooperation with other organizations, I personally want to highlight the work within the newly established cross-border group, on the initiative of UEMS central, The Thematic Federation for Green and Sustainable Practise. The group is newly started and consists of 14 doctors who are involved in "Climate Change and Health", from different specialties, from different countries in Europe, where Southern Europe dominates. Unfortunately, I am the only UEMS representative from the Nordic Countries. Perhaps there is a lack of interest among doctors, admittedly highly trained, but more reactive than proactive. I draw that conclusion after being involved in the Swedish Medical Association's Climate Group and being involved in drawing up their climate policy. The passivity, sometimes on the verge of denial, was sometimes paralyzing, when the issue was raised, among other things, at the council. The climate group has quietly fallen asleep.


The Thematic Federation for Green and Sustainable Education has now produced proposals for a joint position from UEMS, which is out for consultation. There is also a draft regarding how the theme "Climate Change and Health" can be included as a mandatory part of all specialist training, regardless of specialty.


Below, the interested party can read a summary of the group's proposal; "UEMS's positioning statement on planetary health".

 

Planetary Health - Position Paper for UEMS Thematic Federation for Green and Sustainable Medical Practice - a summary

Planetary health recognizes the interconnectedness between the health of human beings and the health of the natural systems on which we depend. It emphasizes the critical importance of maintaining a harmonious realationship between human civilization and the planet's ecosystems to ensure the well-being of both.


The concept of planetary health acknowledges that human activities such as pollution, deforestation, climate change, and biodiversity loss, have far reaching impacts on the environment and, in turn, on human health.

UEMS positions planetary health and climate change as the major health challenges in the 21st century. UEMS is committed to the fight for achieving sustainable medical practices and supporting the enhancement of healthcare system resilience towards current and emerging challenges contributing in so to a more sustainable, healthy and well-being promoting future. For this purpose, urgent action from both health care professionals and policy makers is needed. Self understandably, this requires a collaborative effort being made from all engaged parties, health providers, and policy makers at a European and national level.


The UEMS requests the EU commissioners, members of the European parliament, and all European policy makers to promote health in all policies. Particularly, prevention of both mental and physical illness must be prioritized over commercial profits.

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