Training in occupational medicine: Jurisprudential malfunctions in the Italian system and European perspectives

L. Cegolon, W. C. Heymann, C. Xodo, J. H. Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. To practice occupational health in Europe, a medical doctor must qualify in occupational medicine. This requires a period of postgraduate specialist medical training lasting a minimum of four years, in conformity with European regulations, to obtain a certificate of completion of training which is then mutually recognized within the entire European Union. Discussion. In 2002 an Italian law allowed doctors specialized in public health medicine and legal/forensic medicine to also practice as consultants in occupational medicine in the country. However a subsequent law in 2008 determined that only physicians specialized in occupational medicine could freely practice as consultants in this discipline. The other two categories (consultants in public health medicine and consultants in legal/forensic medicine) were required to undertake additional training (a Master course) to qualify as consultants in occupational medicine. Conclusions. Doctors who entered postgraduate training in public health or legal/forensic medicine before 2008, with the option to practice also as consultants in occupational medicine upon completion of their training, suffered an unprecedented and legally questionable retroactive application of this new law which stripped them of previously acquired rights. Moreover, even after qualifying by undertaking this extra training in occupational medicine, the latter two categories of doctors do not have their training recognized in other member states of the European Union. To disallow the rights of doctors qualified in occupational medicine to work as consultants in the latter medical discipline elsewhere within the European Union seems a clear violation of professional rights and, as such, legal action could be taken to submit this issue to European attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalAnnali di Igiene
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Acquired rights
  • European Union
  • Legal and forensic medicine
  • Mutual recognition
  • Occupational medicine
  • Public health medicine
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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