Professional Associations as lobby: health division

Tomás Cobo, Jesús Aguilar and Francisco Santolaya.

Exclude Professional Associations from the lobby category It is another of the proposals that could mark the future of the Transparency and Integrity Law developed by the Ministry of Public Function. This possible change has not left health professionals indifferent, who nevertheless maintain opposing positions in this regard.

Among the suggestions for modifying the regulations, collected during the public consultation process, it is noted “the need to establish objective criteria for define in which cases you are dealing with an authentic lobbying activity“and thus toughen the current regime.

From the medical group they clarify that the word lobby does not have to be considered “as something pejorative”, but rather as “natural” when it is, simply, of groups of professionals who transfer the currents of opinion to the corresponding environment.

“Free” advice to institutions

Therefore, they consider it inappropriate to be excluded from those “free and specific advice areas, loaded with knowledge, with all the transparency law and absolute freedom from conflict of interest, “criticizes Tomás Cobo, president of the Collegiate Medical Organization (OMC) and vice president of the European Union of Specialist Physicians (UEMS).

“It is as if in the WTO we wanted to do without scientific societies,” the doctor compares, when, in fact, he clarifies “they are eager to receive that scientific knowledge to see how it can be channeled into the profession.”

A scenario that not only occurs in national entities but also at the European level, Cobo details, giving as an example medical organizations such as the European Union of Specialist Physicians (UEMS) or the European Society of Doctors and Hospitals, which also “exercise lobby-like functions.” Thus they fear the term will be “demonized” and consequently these interest groups are seen as promoters “of bad advice.”

The professional associations are “a public law corporation and as such, they have a series of unalterable administration functions,” he points out. Therefore, “everything that is to be able to transport the concerns that the medical profession has in this case to the institutional environment that it corresponds so that when the laws are drawn up, they do as much as possible according to what the profession thinks is good, “he points out.

“Ethical” requirements to be lobbies

The General Council of the Psychology in Spain, in the same vein as doctors, opens the door to this categorization as long as certain ethical and loyalty principles are guaranteed “to people“. Generate spaces for dialogue and debate with the administrations and legislative bodies is, in his opinion, an intrinsic function of the Colleges given their objectives of progress and development of the professionals.

“Of course, groups are needed to pressure, but always from a perspective that is ethics above any other,” explains José Antonio Luengo, dean of the Official College of Psychology of Madrid.

Consideration of people’s well-being and “loyalty to their needs” is what, in their opinion, should govern the action of the schools at the time of proposing, as a whole, initiatives if they are conceived as lobbying. “We consider ourselves as influence group but not to obtain benefits without more, but so that the beneficiaries are citizens “, explains Luengo, which coincides with the primary objective of professionals.” What is the use of defending psychology if I do not reach people And I don’t think about what your concerns are? ”

A double support that collides with the position of the pharmacists. The Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists is more in favor of not including this type of organizations in the lobby category. Sources from the body chaired by Jesús Aguilar indicate that its work “defends both the interests of the members of the profession and the citizens who are recipients of its services”, in such a way that it “pursues purposes of public interest.”

“This public vocation takes on special relevance in sectors such as health, where the exercise of the profession is related to fundamental rights such as the right to health and life “points out the Council, which reiterates that it is” legally recognized as a public law corporation “. For this reason, from the Cgcof they emphasize that” share ”the criteria of the Ministry.

Although it may contain statements, data or notes from health institutions or professionals, the information contained in Medical Writing is edited and prepared by journalists. We recommend that the reader be consulted with any health-related question with a healthcare professional.

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