Neurology residency training in Europe – the current situation

Authors


Dr. W. Struhal, General Hospital of the City of Linz, Krankenhausstr. 9, A-4020 Linz, Austria (tel.: +43 732 7806 73 347; fax: +43 732 7806 74 6866; e-mail: walter.struhal@akh.linz.at).

Abstract

Introduction:  Little is known about neurological training curricula in Europe. A joint approach by the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS), the Union of European Medical Specialists/European Board of Neurology and the European Association of Young Neurologist and Trainees was established to explore the spectrum of neurology training in Europe.

Methods:  In 2006, a questionnaire-based survey on neurology curricula as well as demographic data was designed by WS and WG and distributed by the EFNS to the national delegates of the EFNS, which comprises all European countries and Israel.

Results:  By 2009, delegates from 31 of 41 countries (representing 76% of 505 million) had returned the questionnaire. A total of 24 165 specialists (46% women) were registered in the 31 countries. This corresponds to an average of 6.6 neurologists per 100 000 inhabitants (range 0.9–17.4/100 000 inhabitants). Duration of training in Europe was on average 4.9 years, ranging from 3 to 6 years. The number of residents interested in neurological training exceeded the amount of available training positions. Performance of neurological trainees was regularly assessed in 26 countries (84%), usually by recurrent clinical evaluation. Board examinations were held in 23 countries (74%). Interim examinations were performed in three countries, exit examinations in 14 and both interim and exit examination in 6. Considerable differences were also found in manpower (0.9–17.4 neurologists/100 000 inhabitants) and working conditions (e.g. average weekly working hours ranging from 30–80 h/month). We found a significant positive correlation between manpower and theoretical training hours.

Conclusion:  Considerable differences exist in training curricula of European countries. These data might provide the basis for European training and quality assurance initiatives.

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