Towards the establishment of a new target strategy for WONCA Europe: a key informants study

Eur J Gen Pract. 2008;14(2):76-82. doi: 10.1080/13814780802410148.


Background/objective: A few years ago WONCA Europe decided to refine its targets and propose a project aiming to evaluate achievements of the previous strategy for development of the discipline in Europe and to review its core components. This paper reports on the issues of this evaluation.

Methods: A questionnaire consisting of two parts and four sections was used. The first and second sections addressed issues concerning the 10-target strategy, while the remaining sections addressed issues concerning the new European definition of general practice/family medicine (GP/FM). All European colleges and associations were invited to identify two key informants to complete the questionnaire. Quantitative and qualitative research methods were used for data analysis.

Results: Thirty-two key informants from 19 countries responded to the invitation. The targets for vocational training and mandatory undergraduate education in GP/FM received the largest number of responses for the highest level of achievement. Certain core characteristics were considered highly relevant to the delivery of GP/FM and medical education in Europe. Qualitative analysis identified a number of major issues, such as investment in capacity building, improving quality assurance and performance, legislative and political framework, and support. Identified obstacles included lack of academic infrastructure and research capacity, healthcare system characteristics, political issues, and GP practice issues.

Conclusion: At present, WONCA Europe is treading new ground for GP/FM, and the current targets clearly need thorough revision. There is some evidence that the new GP/FM definition fits in rather well with the majority of the research and educational needs of certain European countries.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical
  • Europe
  • Family Practice / organization & administration*
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Resources
  • Humans
  • Legislation as Topic
  • Organizational Policy*
  • Policy Making*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care