Reformed healthcare professionals act comes into force – language proficiency testing now possible for almost all right to practice applicants
The Health Care Professionals Act has been updated. In future, it will be possible to require all healthcare professionals submitting a right to practice application to undertake a language proficiency test. The updated act also sees the introduction of the European Professional Card (EPC) and an electronic alert system. The supporting documentation required for right to practice applications has also been reviewed. It is envisaged that the changes will enter into force as of 1 January 2016.
In future, Valvira will have the powers to check the language skills of all EU/EEA applicants. All those applying for the so-called right to practice must include a language certificate with their application. Valvira will continue to require all non-EU/EEA applicants to do so as well. Employers are additionally responsible for ensuring that all healthcare professionals in their employment have the necessary professional language skills.
European Professional Card launched in January 2016 – applications accepted from 18 January
The EPC will initially be available to nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists. Nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists wishing to work in another EU/EEA member state or provide their services temporarily or on an ad-hoc basis in another EU/EEA member state can apply for the EPC using a website provided by the European Commission. Valvira will not accept paper applications. The applications will be processed online by the relevant authorities in the applicant’s origin and destination countries.
Applications for the EPC can be submitted from 18 January 2016. Further information on the application process will be available on the Valvira website.
Further change introduced in January 2016
With the introduction of the European electronic alert mechanism, Valvira is required to notify other EU/EEA member state authorities when the decision is taken to restrict or cancel a right to practice, to revoke an authorisation to practice, to prohibit practice or to revoke the right to use a protected occupational title.
Valvira will assess the competence of paramedics who qualified in an EU/EEA member state excluding Finland. The decision will not be lodged in the national register of healthcare professionals (Terhikki) but will be issued to the applicant in writing.
Valvira may require applicants to provide authenticated copies of documents relating to qualifications obtained in an EU/EEA member state only if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the document is not genuine. This change is due to an amendment to the Recognition of professional qualifications in practice directive. All documentation relating to qualifications obtained in a non-EU/EEA member state must be authenticated. However, Valvira requests that, in future, all applicants will continue to submit authenticated copies of all supporting documentation to prevent any inconvenience that may be experienced by the applicants while Valvira verifies the authenticity of the documents with the issuing body.
Changes to right to practice applications: from 1 January 2016, applicants wishing to appeal a decision must lodge their appeal with Valvira in the first instance. Following Valvira’s ruling, a second appeal may be lodged with the Administrative Court.
Further information on the legislative changes will be published on our website in January 2016.
For further information, please contact:
Jussi Holmalahti, Director
tel: +358 (0)295 209 500
Maarit Mikkonen, Group Leader, Referendary Counsellor
tel: +358 (0)295 209 561
Heidi Laurila, Legal Counsel
tel: +358 (0)295 209 5426 (enquiries relating to alert mechanism)