The government approves changes to the statutes of 12 professional associations

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The approved diploma modifies the statutes of 12 professional associations, adapting them to what is stipulated in the legal regime for the creation, organization and operation of public professional associations.

The government approved on Thursday the diploma that modifies the statutes of 12 professional associations, adapting them to what is stipulated in the legal regime for the creation, organization and operation of public professional associations.

The bill, approved by the Council of Ministers, will be submitted to Parliament and amends the statutes of the Order of Dentists, the Order of Doctors, the Order of Engineers, the Order of Notaries, the Order of Nurses, the Order of Economists, the Order of Architects, the Order of Technical Engineers, the Order of Pharmacists, the Order of Lawyers, the Order of Chartered Accountants and the Order of Solicitors and Enforcement Agents.

In a statement, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers said the law aims to “eliminate restrictions on access to the professions and improve conditions of competition, a process that began with the entry into force of the law”, published in March, which amends the legal framework for the creation, organization and operation of public professional associations and the legal framework for the constitution and operation of professional companies that are subject to public professional associations.

According to the memo, “all entities concerned by the process have been heard”.

Some associations, such as the medical, nursing, economists’ and lawyers’ associations, have objected to the statutory changes proposed by the government.

The Council of Ministers also decided to combine in a single bill the amendments approved on Thursday and those previously approved, but examined on Thursday at final reading, concerning the eight remaining professional associations.

As a result, the single government diploma will be sent to Parliament for review and approval, together with the proposed amendments to the statutes of the 20 professional associations.

The new statutes of 12 professional associations were approved on Thursday, one day after the resignation of the coordinator of the Public Health Reform Commission, Mário Jorge Neves, who disagreed with the new statutes of the Medical Association.

In the letter of resignation sent on Tuesday to the Secretary of State for Health Promotion, the doctor considers that the new statutes proposed by the government constitute a “violent and scandalous attempt to liquidate the basic legal competences of the Medical Association and to interfere politically and governmentally in the autonomy and technical and scientific independence of the medical profession”.

According to the Ministry of Health, the legislative proposal does not change the medical training model, does not alter the central role of the national health service, and does not change the specific nature of the intervention of doctors and their professional order.

The Bar Association maintains that the changes proposed by the government do not safeguard professional secrecy, the conflict of interest regime and other ethical and deontological principles.

The president of the Portuguese Nurses Association, Ana Rita Cavaco, denounced the government’s “interference” in professional associations by creating a supervisory body charged with “controlling and ordering”.

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