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EUROPESPA Certification

EUROPESPA med - International seal of approval for European spas and health resorts (PDF) New window.

Brand new opportunities in the booming European health tourism sector

EUROPESPA-med logoWith European integration in full swing, more and more people are keen to visit spas and other health resorts abroad.

This target group is being wooed by currently more than 1,500 spa resorts throughout Europe. And these resorts are all competing for a slice of the wellbeing and healthcare sector with an annual turnover of €25 milliard.

Those who can gain the trust of potential visitors clearly have the upper hand. And one of the key criteria involved is quality.

The problem is that all future visitors have to go on is each centre’s own advertising – and its price list. What consumers need is additional,independent decision-making guidance.

Another issue is that although similar terms are used to describe spas and medical wellness throughout the international health tourism sector,the regulations and standards in force regarding aspects such as infrastructure, hygiene,safety and comfort vary considerably from one country to the next. And this makes competition unfair: with different quality standards reflected in prices, it’s hard for top-quality resorts to distinguish themselves from their cheaper competitors.

How can quality best be communicated?

The answer lies in the EUROPESPA seal of approval specially developed by the European Spas Association (ESPA).

The EUROPESPA Seal of approval

The award of the EUROPESPA-med seal of approval means the holder meets the exacting standards of ESPA in terms of general therapy infrastructure, hygiene and safety.

Who is entitled to bear the EUROPESPA seal of approval?

The EUROPESPA seal of approval is designed for spas and health resorts in the classical healthcare segment as well as centres specialising in medical wellness whose services include treatment and cures.

Benefits for health resorts (spa hotels,spa clinics and sanatoriums)

1. More clients thanks to EUROPESPA’s quality image

Certified health resorts can use the EUROPESPA seal of approval to set themselves off from the competition and to demonstrate international recognition of their high quality.

Moreover, the seal of approval has an attractive,memorable design. The concrete benefits include the following:

  • The seal of approval indicates international standards.
  • It also indicates a high level of quality.
  • The seal of approval is backed up by the prestigious European Spas Association(ESPA).

Tour operators back EUROPESPA

The EUROPESPA seal of approval can be used for advertising purposes in tour operators’ brochures. Leading travel operators specialising in health tourism draw particular attention to the use of the EUROPESPA seal of approval in their catalogues. Given the myriad of similar descriptions, sporting the seal of approval is a great way to highlight quality.

A study by the European Tourism Institute found that a considerable proportion of consumers look out for seals of approval of quality when deciding where to go.

International directory of top health resorts in Europe (www.europespa.eu)

Health resorts certified by the European Spas Association are listed in the EUROPESPA directory,which only lists the leading spas in Europe meeting the criteria of the ESPA. Having had their high quality standards verified in this manner brings them to the attention of not just national and foreign health insurance companies but also guests paying their own way. In conjunction with other organisations, ESPA notifies health insurance companies throughout Europe about quality aspects of spas – and ESPA’s EUROPESPA Index serves as a crucial information platform.

2. Focused quality improvement

Continuous improvement

The findings of the EUROPESPA audit are extensively documented for the client and highlight the potential for improvement.

Regular audits make for continuous, step-bystep improvement.

Simple statistical analysis

Holders of the seal of approval receive anonymised statistical analysis detailing other centres in their own country and abroad on the same scale or offering a similar range of services. This enables comparison with their peers in an extensive range of areas.

To ensure that the standards required are permanently met, the EUROPESPA seal of approval can only be awarded to institutions which already have (or are planning to introduce) a certified ISO 9001 quality management system.

What does the EUROPESPA-med seal indicate?

The EUROPESPA-med seal of approval certifies the high level of quality assurance regarding local remedies, hygiene, therapeutic infrastructure and procedures, and patient safety.

EUROPESPA med is supported by leading health insurance companies in Germany:

“As far as health insurance company TAUNUS BKK is concerned, EUROPESPA med means spas of the highest quality with modern medical standards, reliable safety and attentive service for our customers,” says Udo Sennlaub, CEO of
TAUNUS BKK, which insures over a million customers.

Techniker Krankenkasse (which insures over 6 million customers) also supports the EUROPESPA med concept. “Good quality guarantees sustainable success in therapy. For this purpose, it is vital that high standards are met in terms of safety, hygiene maintenance and staff training at the facility. EUROPESPA med attests that the spa complies with internationally uniform standards, primarily regarding quality and safety management. Techniker Krankenkasse welcomes this approach because certification takes into account the main criteria,” declares Thomas Schlicht, head of the Department of Prevention and Rehabilitation at Techniker Krankenkasse.

The set of criteria applied contains about 400 audit questions and addresses the following areas.

1. Management system and conformity

a) General requirements for spa resorts

  • Structure and procedures suitable for a spa resort
  • Treatment plan
  • Preventive measures
  • Final examination, spa report, letter from the spa doctor
  • Analysis of natural local remedies
  • Balneological report

b) General conformity with regional regulations regarding environmental protection and natural local remedies

  • Official approval for the extraction of naturalremedies
  • Drinking water quality
  • Sewage and waste disposal

c) Suitable structure and organisation

  • Training of doctors, therapists and other medical personnel
  • Standards of spa-related and general healthcare provided by doctors and pharmacies
  • Executives (quality and safety management)

d) General quality and safety management

  • Treatment measures
  • Quality assurance in relevant medicinal procedures
  • Data protection/confidentiality
  • Hygiene plans, measures to prevent pathogens
  • Disaster protection plans
  • Safety facilities (fire protection, infection prevention, accident prevention, etc)

e) Quality and safety management (spa-specific aspects)

  • Analysis of healing water and medicinal mud etc
  • Documentation of cure analyses
  • Quality assurance for external procurement of remedies and ingredients
  • Risk analysis for medical products
  • Cleaning and disinfection measures in connection with remedies

f) Analytical quality control

  • Data management
  • Regular analyses of pump rooms, baths,inhalation and mud applications
  • Measures to prevent the outbreak of legionnaires’disease
  • Surface hygiene

2. Procurement and provision of remedies

a) Protection of medicinal springs and mud

  • Conservation and sustainability
  • Protection of natural resources
  • Spring facilities

b) Production, treatment and storage of remedies (medicinal mud, healing water)

  • Storage, processing and transport
  • Hygiene
  • Treatment, reuse
  • Environmental protection, safety management

3. Therapeutic applications and wellbeing

a) Spa rooms and other treatment and rest areas

  • Hygiene management and infection prevention
  • General suitability of premises and technical infrastructure

b) Spa and wellness areas

  • Safety management
  • Bath standards
  • Data collection during malfunctions
  • Cleaning and disinfection in and around baths
  • Safety and hygiene in saunas, Turkish and steam baths, other wellness-areas as well as changing rooms

4. Accommodation

a) Accommodation for patients and guests

  • Requirements regarding rooms, sanitary facilities and public areas: hygiene, patient safety, other spa-specific aspects
  • Standards of hygiene for personnel
  • Safety and hygiene regulations

5. Cuisine

a) Catering operations

  • General food safety, HACCP
  • Range of meals

Reinhard Petry
European Spas Association (ESPA)

AETC Secrétariat Général
1, avenue de la Renaissance
B 1000 Bruxelles
Tel.: 00 32(2)7 33 26 61
Fax: 00 32(2)7 33 06 19
Mobil: 00 49-172-6 13 30 06
petry@espa-ehv.eu, info@europespa.eu

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