Vol 68, No 2 (2017)
Published online: 2017-06-27

open access

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Standards for quality assurance of pre-employment medical examinations of seafarers: the IMHA Quality experience

Tim Carter1, Sally Bell2, Alf Magne Horneland1, Suresh Idnani3
Pubmed: 28660612
IMH 2017;68(2):99-101.


Standards to assess the quality of doctors and clinics performing pre-employment medical examinations (PEMEs) were developed for International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) Quality, a not for profit organisation, created to provide an ethically sound and professional accepted accreditation system that would benefit seafarers having PEMEs and employers, insurers and national maritime authorities seeking valid assessments of seafarers’ fitness for duty. These standards followed a format widely used in other healthcare settings, where assessment of clinical performance is desirable. Uptake of these standards by doctors and clinics was not as expected, as they did not see sufficient business benefits coming from accreditation to justify the costs. This was, at least in part, because there was some antagonism to a professionally based accreditation system from commercial interest groups such as insurers, while national maritime authorities did not come forward to use the system as a recommendation or requirement for approval of doctors. The IMHA Quality accreditation system has now been closed and for this reason we are making the standards publicly available. Those who helped to develop them hope that doctors and clinics will now use them as a means of improving the quality of their practice when performing PEME.