Continuing medical education (CME) is an ethical obligation as well as a professional necessity for every practitioner. CME has to be considered as a continuum starting from the beginning of medical studies until the end of a medical career. The skills needed in life-long learning have to be acquired during basic medical education. CME should in some scale be integrated with basic medical education and postgraduate training. These are basic principles, generally accepted in the discussion of CME. In the medical community there is a growing awareness of the need to give more structure to the organisation of CME, and many initiatives are being taken in this field at international and national level. According to an inquiry made among Medical Associations in member countries of EU, CME in most countries is organised by professional bodies. In most countries there is a policy document or work in progress for adopting a CME policy document. In most countries CME is a voluntary responsibility. There are some countries in Europe which have a recertification system. In general practice the need for CME is enormous. Challenges to good CME include the multiplicity of CME-providers, outdated teaching methods poor quality of some educational programmes, lack of educational evaluation, and powerful modern information technology. The challenges should provoke us to build CME programmes based on learning needs of the participants, and to put emphasis on .self-directed, goal- and practice-oriented learning experiences in addition to lecture-based methods. The profession of general practice must respond to the growing pressures for continuing professional development.
European structure of continuing medical education