The Medical Association of North Rhine would like to introduce itself
The Medical Association of North Rhine (ÄkNo) is the professional representation of the approximately 63,500 doctors in North Rhine, which is a part of the German federal state North Rhine-Westphalia. North Rhine's population is of about 9.6 million inhabitants.
In self-administration the Medical Association of North Rhine exercises public functions in the field of public health and, subject to instructions, fulfils State responsibilities.
The Medical Association's work is based on the law for health care professions in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and is a corporation under public law. The organs of self-administration are legitimated democratically by elections. All doctors pursuing their profession within the territory belonging to this Medical Association are compulsory members. The doctors living in North Rhine who do not pursue or no longer pursue their profession are also members of the Association.
Every five years, the doctors in North Rhine elect the 121 members of the Association Assembly. The Association Assembly is the Medical Association's highest committee and is the parliament of the medical profession in North Rhine. The Association Assembly elects the President and his substitute, the Vice President, for a five-year term of office. The President represents the Medical Association in the public eye. The President and the Vice President, together with 16 elected members of the Assembly, constitute the Executive Commitee of the North Rhine Medical Association which manages the affairs. The Association Assembly, the Executive Commitee and the President make all the essential decisions concerning the Association's self-administration organs.
The doctors in the different parts of the territory have their direct contacts in 27 district centers. These contacts deal with questions concerning members, e.g. the handout of the Medical Identity Cards, registrations and changes of data and information about the education of medical assistants.
The Medical Association in figures
The Medical Association of North Rhine is the third biggest of a total of 17 Medical Associations of the different federal states in Germany. In 2018, the Medical Association of North Rhine employed 264 collaborators as well as 8 apprentices. 216 collaborators are working in the central seat in Düsseldorf, and a further 40 collaborators in the different branches. Additionally, a multitude of honorary doctors are active in working groups and commissions.
Main tasks of the Medical Association
Health and social policy
All Medical Associations in Germany are legally obliged to safeguard the concerns of their members. Therefore constant contact with parliaments, political parties, ministries and the media is essential. Above all, their competence in medical and sanitary questions make the Medical Associations valuable advisers of the Federal Government as well as of all the governments of the federal states. Their comments on bills, ordinances and ministerial decrees in the field of social and health policy have a corresponding significance.
One of the basic elements of the doctors' self-administration is the supervision of the doctors' professional duties. In this domain, the Medical Associations have to ensure that professional principles are observed. These principles are established in the doctors' professional code of conduct and they regulate in an obligatory manner the conduct towards patients, as well as between the doctors themselves.
Specialist professional training
The doctors' professional training in universities is subject to the State, whereas specialist professional training for doctors who would like to specialize in certain fields (e.g. ophthalmologists, surgeons, etc.) is the responsibility of the Medical Associations. Thus among the Medical Associations' main tasks is the issue of regulations for specialist training as well as the carrying out of exams in regard to specialist training.
Medical progress means that every doctor is constantly required to maintain his or her medical knowledge updated. Continuous education enjoys a high priority in the Medical Association of North Rhine. The North Rhine Academy for Continuous Education and Specialist Training offers courses, seminars and workshops in relation to all important medical topics.
Citizens and patients
The General Medical Council of North Rhine has established service centers for the cooperation between doctors and teachers, as well as between self-help associations and doctors.
The consultation of citizens, which, for example, provides information and advice about clinical pictures and methods of treatment, is considered as vocational guidance in relation to questions about health.
The Expert Commitee for Medical Malpractice Claims, which consists of competent and independent doctors and jurists, gives out free-of-charge expert opinions in the case of accusations of negligent medical treatment.
Furthermore, the Departmental Section for the Regulation of Fees settles any possible dispute that may arise between patients and doctors.
The financial cover for North Rhine's doctors provides financial benefits for doctors guaranteeing financial security to doctors in old age as well as in the case of professional disability, and apart from that it also gives out financial help to surviving dependants. The Compulsory Insurance of North Rhine's Medical Association invests its assets in compliance with the principles of a maximum of security and profit. The profits gained are exclusively for the benefit of the members.