The European professional card (EPC) is an electronic procedure introduced by the 2013 revision of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications. It is meant to ease the mobility of regulated professions, including health care professions, within the European Union thanks to digital tools.
A professional willing to provide temporarily his services or to settle in into a new Member State will have to follow such procedure to certify the authenticity and validity of the documents proving he is fit to practice.
The EPC uses the Internal Market Information system as platform for competent authorities to safely communicate between them. It enables national competent authorities to exchange verified information and documents from the Home to the Host Member State about the professional’s competences, his experience and his diploma.
For the moment, the EPC procedure is only open to 5 regulated professions:
- Nurses responsible for general care;
- Mountain guides;
- Real estate agents.
The procedure for the healthcare sector is specific and so the decision to allow a professional to practice relies on the Home Member State competent authority. It can ask for complementary information and check the practitioner language skills. Therefore, the role of competent authorities is key in order to ensure patient protection.
Once the application is approved, the professional will be able to generate an EPC certificate proving the completion of the professional qualifications administrative checking procedure. Such certificate does not automatically mean the professional is allowed to practice.