EQuiP 1991-2016: 25 Years of Service

The European Society for Quality and Safety in Family Practice (EQuiP) is WONCA Europe's network for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. It has formally been in existence since 1991, initially founded and led by researcher Richard Grol from the Netherlands, with the aim of developing tools and methods for quality improvement in general practice in collaboration with leading European GP research institutions.

In 2016, EQuiP is celebrating a magnificent milestone: its 25th Anniversary. Read more here: 

Short history of EQuiP

By José Miguel Bueno Ortiz, Spanish EQuiP delegate

I. Introduction and background

At the WONCA Council Meeting prior to the 12th World Congress held in Jerusalem in 1989, the Improvement of Quality Working Party was set up as a result of the acknowledgement of the growing significance and importance given to this issue by Family Doctors world-wide and to the work that many of WONCAs member institutions were carrying out to develop initiatives on the subject in their own countries.

The work group was created as a sub-committee of the Permanent Medical Education Committee with the following objectives:

  1. To revise the current state of quality indicators and standards in General Practice in the member countries
  2. To take measurements
  3. To get to know the capacity of the member countries to improve them
  4. To draw up methods by way of which WONCA could promote the set-up of quality improvement strategies

At Jerusalem, Dr. Marwick from New Zealand was proposed as Chairman of this work group. The incentive group emerged at subsequent meetings, counting among its members on Prof. Richard Grol, title professor of Quality Assurance at Nijmegen University (Holland), and Chairman of the European group.

In 1990, the Chairman of EQuiP sent a letter to the different Family Medicine associations in the WONCA member countries, introducing EQuiP and inviting them to join by appointing two Delegates. 

Dr. Grol was replaced by Prof. Joachim Szecsenyi, professor of Quality Assurance at Heidelberg (Germany), in EQuiP meeting in Lisbon November 2002.

At the meeting in Kos (Greece) September 2005, Prof. Martin Marshall (United Kingdom) took over as chair of EQuiP from Prof. Joachim Szecsenyi. In March 2006 Prof. Martin Marshall accepted a post as "Deputy Chief Medical Officer" of the National Health Service (NHS) in Great Britain and presented his resignation. At the Istanbul (Turkey) meeting, in May 2006, EQuiP delegates decided that Prof. Joachim Szecsenyi would lead the organisation again for the next years.

In 2007, Prof. Tina Eriksson was elected president and she took over office at the closed meeting in Bucharest, November 2008.

II. Aims

This European group held its first meeting at the WONCA European Region Congress in Barcelona in 1990 and set down its objects:

  1. To promote collaboration between the organisations, associations and Family Practice colleges of General practitioners/family doctors in Europe on the topic of Quality Development.
  2. To promote the exchange of experts and experience in quality development by organising workdays, drawing up positioning documents, distributing reports and creating collaboration projects.
  3. To enhance the creation of national networks of family doctors, educators and researchers in each country to aid in promoting and implementing EQuiP's results.
  4. To give an impulse to tuition on quality development during the pre-graduate period, continuous medical education and vocational training scheme.
  5. To initiate, support and supervise specific concerted actions concerning quality development.

III. The structure of EQuiP

EQuiP consists of an assembly and an executive council.

The EQuiP executive is formed by the President, the Honorary Secretary, the Honorary Treasurer and the delegate in WONCA Europe Executive and 1-3 members at large. It is entrusted with the structure, relations with WONCA, budget, quotas and social aspects. 

The assembly is formed by the delegates in representation of the different national organisations members of WONCA Europe. The maximum number of representatives per country is two. 

At the assembly meeting in Turkey in the spring of 2006 a decision to work on an EQuiP constitution was taken. A group of delegates were appointed to draw up a draft constitution. Drafts were discussed at and altered after four consecutive assembly meetings in Spain 2006, the Czech Republic 2007, France 2007 and Norway 2008 until it finally was adopted by the EQuiP assembly at a closed meeting in Bucharest, November 8, 2008.