UIMC

The UIMC, the International Union of Railway Medical Services, is an autonomous special group under the aegis of the UIC, the International Union of Railways with headquarters in Paris.

Tasks

The UIMC performs the following tasks:

  • Promotion and dissemination of medical progress on the railways
  • Promotion of professional contacts between railway medical officers with the aim of exchanging information and medical knowledge
  • Communication of specialist papers on railway medicine, regular inter-disciplinary and international exchange of medical knowledge at general assemblies and scientific conferences
  • Promotion of medical research specific to the railways and application of the results in day-to-day practice
  • Attainment of the highest possible level of railway operating safety and the best possible care of railway staff.

History

The UIMC was founded in 1948 as a company under Belgian law by a group of leading medical officers from European railway undertakings. It rapidly became a worldwide organisation with a membership extending to Asia, Africa and South America. For organisational and structural reasons the UIMC has operated since 1995 under the aegis of the UIC as an autonomous special group of medical experts appointed by their railways as delegates of their medical services.

Objectives

The aim of UIMC members, like all those employed on the railways and external medical bodies working for railway companies, is to ensure and to improve the safety, functioning and efficiency of the railways. Human factors, human resources, and motivation and reliability of railway staff take on greater significance in this context. Healthy organisations require healthy workers; consequently, they also need health specialists who are well-acquainted with the working conditions and stresses and strains involved in the railways. Railway medical offers and experts must be employed in order to protect health and safety standards at work and to ensure that transport medicine and psychology, preventive occupational medicine, healthcare and staff care services are provided. With regard to globalisation and worldwide exchange of knowledge, advantage should be taken of synergies and international collaboration must be fostered.

Activities

The general assemblies and congresses convened annually provide platforms for international exchange of experience, updates on advances in railway medicine through the presentation of scientific papers, and the development of projects and creation of working groups. In Europe, UIMC collaborates closely with the Community of European Railways (CER) with a view to harmonising provisions relating to medical fitness in cross-border traffic for interoperability purposes.

UIMC’s working groups deal with various scientific topics. In 2018-2019, two UIMC working groups focused on updating the chapters on alcohol and drugs and on psychiatric disorders in the UIMC Railway Medical Guidelines, which were revised in 2014. Today, many medical issues in the railways are related to mental illness, including misuse of drugs and alcohol, but international standards for assessment were hitherto seriously outdated. For instance, psychiatric medicine is an important part of effective treatment for most psychiatric disorders. Taken correctly, the benefits usually clearly outweigh the side effects, but fitness for driving and safety-related work must be assessed in an internationally harmonised and scientifically robust way.

In September 2018, at the annual UIMC General Assembly and Congress in Luxembourg, the group discussed numerous topics such as health promotion, prevention programmes, health surveillance, safety, drug usage compared to aptitude testing performance, medical fitness assessment and new challenges relating to work methods and procedures. These discussions will continue in Rome in October 2019.
One of the goals of our organisation is to promote a continuous flow of information so as to build on expertise on an ongoing basis. Hence, there are several opportunities to exchange experiences and knowledge during the year.

Human factors are essential aspects of railway safety systems and common safety methods. We need international exchange of knowledge and common standards to be able to advise the railways (both companies and national and international regulatory bodies) on standards for aptitude assessment and methods of promoting health amongst railway workers.

Autumn 2019 will see some of the long-standing management committee members step down and the election of a new management committee, which will set the strategic direction for UIMC for the coming years.

UIMC congress

Upcoming event
The UIMC scientific congress and the general assembly will be held in Rome, Italy, from 16-18 October 2019.

Previous event

Invitation to participate

The UIMC therefore invites all UIC member railways whose medical services are not yet represented on the UIMC, to cooperate within or with the UIMC. All forms of membership including railway company observer status or membership through their umbrella organisations from all continents are welcome. The UIC contact in Paris is Meryem Belhaj: belhaj-clot@uic.org

Direct contact may also be made with the chairman or the Secretary General of the UIMC.

Contact

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