Who is obliged to undergo continuous medical education?
Under Article 9 of the Ordinance on Continuous Medical Education, continuous medical education is mandatory for all holders of a Swiss Federal postgraduate title or recognised foreign postgraduate title (including “medical practitioner”) for as long as they practise medicine in Switzerland. Continuous medical education is not mandatory for doctors who are undergoing full-time postgraduate training to acquire a specialist title or expertise in a specialist field; this also applies to postgraduate training candidates who already hold a postgraduate training title.
How many credits do I have to provide proof of per year?
The Ordinance on Continuous Medical Education (Article 4, Paragraph 2) recommends 10 days of continuous medical education per year (= 80 hours). This must include proof of 50 credits (= 50 hours). 30 hours count as self-study and it is not necessary to provide proof for these.
Will I lose my specialist title if I do not complete any continuous medical education?
No, continuous medical education is a professional obligation; failure to comply with it may result in the cantonal public health authorities taking penalty action by issuing a reprimand or a fine of up to CHF 20,000. It is not possible for a specialist title to be withdrawn (cf. Article 43 of the Law on Medical Professions (MedBG)).
I am taking up a research post for two years in the USA. Am I obliged to undergo continuous medical education during this period?
No, you are not obliged to undergo continuous medical education during this period. Continuous medical education is only mandatory for doctors who are practising medicine in Switzerland (Article 9 of the Ordinance on Continuous Medical Education). The obligation to undergo continuous medical education only recommences after you have returned to Switzerland. You may then either start a new three-year period of continuous medical education or claim a reduction of the obligation to undergo continuous medical education by two years for your stay abroad. Stays abroad lasting less than four months are not sufficient to reduce your obligation to undergo continuous medical education.
What happens if I do not acquire a continuous medical education diploma or do not renew my continuous medical education diploma?
Acquisition of the continuous medical education diploma is not a legal requirement. It is vital that you undergo continuous medical education in the prescribed scope. The specialist title remains unaffected. However, without a continuous medical education diploma you accept the following disadvantages:
In a review you will have to convince the responsible cantonal regulatory authorities that the continuous medical education, which you have undergone, meets the customary standard. The same applies for any possible third party liability proceedings.
Without entry of a continuous medical education diploma or confirmation of continuous medical education in the registry of FMH Physicians (www.doctorfmh.ch), you would have to confirm and document with appropriate supporting material the specific continuous medical education for the achievement of TARMED vested benefits in the database (www.myfmh.ch). Otherwise insurers may refuse payment of vested benefits.
How much does a continuous medical education diploma for radiation oncology/radiotherapy specialists cost?
For members of the SSRO the fee is included in the membership fee. For non-members the fee is CHF 250 to acquire or renew the diploma.
I am a double titleholder of Specialist in General Internal Medicine and Radiation Oncology/Radiotherapy. Do I have to acquire the continuous medical education diploma for both specialist titles?
No. You can confine yourself to the one continuous medical education programme that most closely matches your current occupation. Of course it is possible to acquire both continuous medical education diplomas. This can be done without a great deal of extra work because the core of one continuous medical education programme can be accredited automatically as extended continuous medical education of the other programme. As soon as you fulfil the subject-specific core elements of continuous medical education of both specialities without overlaps, you are entitled to both continuous medical education diplomas.
I work part-time (50%). Do I still have to complete the full continuous medical education programme?
Yes. Part-time employment does not entitle you to a reduction of your obligation to undergo continuous medical education. Continuous medical education helps quality assurance and serves to maintain your medical competence, which must also be fully ensured with part-time employment.
There has been an interruption in my practising medicine due to four months’ maternity leave. Do I have to show proof of fewer credits for the continuous medical education diploma?
Yes. Interruptions to practising medicine beyond a total of four months within the three-year period of continuous medical education result in a proportionate reduction of the required credits. The same applies for stays abroad or other interruptions to practising medicine in Switzerland.
I am returning to practise medicine after an interruption of four years. Do I have to make up for the continuous medical education that I missed at a later date?
No. If you are not practising medicine, you are not obliged to undergo continuous medical education. After returning to practise medicine your obligation to undergo continuous medical education will recommence.
It was not possible for me to complete the required continuous medical education within the three years. Can I make up for this at a later date?
It is not possible to make up for continuous medical education in the following year or transfer it to the next period of continuous medical education. However, you may use the SIWF/ISFM online platform to print out the diploma at any time and it will be valid for the next 3 years as soon as you have acquired the required number of credits (without reasons for reduction =150 credits).
I have acquired the specialist title in radiation oncology/radiotherapy this year. From when am I obliged to undergo continuous medical education?
Continuous medical education is mandatory for you beginning in the year that follows the one when the title was conferred. In your case this is the 1st of January of next year.