Presentation W P10

W P10 (Poster Presentation):
Knowledge transfer from Belgian government to medical doctors

Presented by: Anna Katharina Mortelmans

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Mortelmans K1, Remmen R2, Berkein P3, Falez F3 , Laurent E4 , Lenoir E5 , Van den Bremt C6, Mairiaux P7

  1. Department of Research & Development, Occupational Health Services Group Mensura, Brussels
  2. Centre for General Practice/Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp
  3. Medical Direction, Socialist Mutuality, Brussel
  4. Medical Direction, Christian Mutuality, Brussels
  5. Scientific Society for General Practice, Brussels
  6. Medical Direction, Independent Mutuality, Brussels
  7. School of Public Health, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium



‘Getting all stakeholders to work together’ is key to successful work disability prevention and integration (WDPI). In Belgium, general practitioners (GPs), occupational physicians (OPs) and social insurance physicians (SIPs) have complementary WDPI tasks but rarely coordinate their actions. In 2009-11, the Ministry of Employment commissioned a study to identify GP-OP-SIP collaboration channels, in order to prevent unnecessary long-term WD. The 2011 study report ( issued 6 groups of recommendations for policy-makers. One recommendation was: ‘stimulate inter-professional collaboration by joint seminars for GPs, OPs, and SIPs’. We illustrate how this recommendation was put into practice.


In 2011, GPs’, OPs’, and SIPs’ scientific organisations agreed to organise a French-spoken and a Flemish-spoken joint seminar in November and December 2012 respectively. Aim: a double knowledge transfer. 1) Bringing to practicing physicians WDPI evidence-based guidelines described in the 2011 study report. Methods: 1.1 a transdisciplinary seminar training; and 1.2 promoting press releases to spread out the WDPI messages further on. 2) Bringing back to the Ministry of Employment the physicians’ opinions on 3 policy recommendations suggested in the 2011 study report but not yet validated by a large group of physicians. Method: an on-line voting system at the seminar.


1.1 Participation interest was greater (about 400) than expected (n=250): 91% of participants were physicians (38% GPs; 27% OPs; and 26% SIPs). Training included interactive presentations on WDPI legislation; physicians’ role clarification; evidence in WDPI research; practical cases of long-term sickness absence; and examples of good practices with successful return to work. 1.2 Press picked up the news. At least 5 articles were published. 2.The participants underlined their support (agreement > 80%) for the 3 policy recommendations submitted to the votes: a) invest in a shared training of the 3 physician groups; b) promote the pre-return to work visit with the OP for sick-listed patients; and c) establish joint guidelines for concerted return to work guidance


A double WDPI knowledge transfer was successfully put into practice in Belgium. Let’s not stop there!

Schedule Details

Wednesday October 1
13:00 - 14:00 Poster Viewing
Session: Policy / theory