Belgium National OT News
National News – March 2019
The current highlights within the work of the Belgian OT associations.
Remark: NBFE / FNBE is the federation of the 2 regional associations Ergotherapie Vlaanderen (EV) and Union Professionelle des Ergothérapeutes (UPE)
- We are reorganizing and updating the national association. As legislation concerning “associations” changed, we decided to update to a 2.0 association, with a new name, a new logo and a new website… coming soon!
- The King Baudouin Foundation (https://www.kbs-frb.be/en/) is installing a Dutch-speaking and a French-speaking “primary health care chair” through an extensive fund. The French-speaking UPE played a very active role in establishing the French-speaking chair. This will, among other things, result in research into the value of OT in primary care. This is important for the profile of occupational therapy in Belgium!
- Primary care is one of the highlights in politics in Belgium, mostly in Flanders. All structures, legislation and organization will be renewed. The OT associations were very active in the preparations of these reforms. OT is still not recognized as a primary care profession, but we succeeded in overcoming this obstacle, and as a result occupational therapy will gain its justified place in primary care. As a result, the occupational therapists are now represented in both the legislative committees and the advisory committees of the Flemish regional government. There is still a lot of work to do, but our primary-care-future is bright.
- In the same movement, the 2 regional associations EV and UPE are designing a first Electronic OT patient file. The EV file will be finished at the end of 2019 and then the first steps will be taken to make it operational online. EV and UPE are forced to do this separately because the regional laws are different.
- Next month NBFE/FNBE will, for the first time in Belgian OT history, have an official representation of the OT in the Belgian Ministry of Social Affairs. Thanks to that, we will be able to directly and actively debate on the annual budget for occupational therapy in Belgium. This brings hope!
- And then, there is the daily work of the association, the quest for funds, the continuous challenge to have more members … but it keeps us awake!