gms | German Medical Science

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annual Assembly of the German and the Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

26.-29.10.2011, Salzburg, Österreich

People with Disabilities in Europe

Meeting Abstract

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  • Anthony B. Ward - University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stoke on Trent, UK

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Salzburg, 26.-29.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11esm009

doi: 10.3205/11esm009, urn:nbn:de:0183-11esm0095

Veröffentlicht: 24. Oktober 2011

© 2011 Ward.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



The World Health Organisation launched its World Disability Report on 9th June 2011 at the UN Building in New York. It was hard-hitting and confirmed the views that, with 1 billion people in the world experiencing a disability, the needs of people with disabilities was no longer a marginal issue. It is a large document and highlights the lack of access to specialist medical rehabilitation. While establishing community based rehabilitation across the world is a priority, communities in North America and Europe still need to develop, as shown in the UN Charter on People with Disabilities (2007) and in the European Year of People with Disabilities (2009). As Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine differs from country to country across Europe, its response to public health issues for people with disabilities also differs and this is not helped by the patchy response to access to specialist medical rehabilitation. While disability issues in the developed world may be perceived to be more about human rights than health interventions, there is good evidence that people with disabilities get assessed when they have the active involvement of health professionals.

The situation for people with disabilities in Europe as a region is indeed more about ensuring that their rights are defended and promoted. Equal opportunities are essential to allow full participation and the Council of Europe, the European Disability Forum and the Assembly of European Regions espouse this. However, the role of health professionals should not be underestimated in ensuring that people with disabilities function as well as possible and have access to both specialist rehabilitation and to up-to-date technologies to allow their participation. Rehabilitation is, therefore, important, but as important is the emphasis on taking an active role on sport and other activities that the able-bodied in society take for granted. The UEMS Section of PRM and the Multi-Joint Committee on Sports Medicine are working hard at getting over the relevant ideas and this presentation will cover some of them. The recent Royal College of Physicians of London report “Rehabilitation Medicine 2011 and Beyond, which was launched in November 2010 described a template for the delivery of specialist medical rehabilitation services, but also focuses on their funding, albeit in an English healthcare system environment.

This presentation will look at a number of initiatives that could be presented to European governments to allow them to address some of the report’s recommendations at a reasonable cost and with relative ease. This would perhaps be a starting point from a European perspective.