Want to be the best healthcare provider in Europe? Here’s how…

This week, my attention was drawn to an event that’s taking place in Italy in July – The Health and Wellness Tourism Summit of Leaders run by the “European Business Assembly”.

Alongside the event, the EBA will be presenting a number of awards including some in the health and medical sector. Its annual awards embrace:

  • The European Quality Award – “For aspiration to achieve high quality in accordance with European standard”
  • The International Best Enterprise Award “for professional achievements in commercial activities”.
  • The International Best Manager of the Year Award
  • The International Socrates Awards for “intellectual development of today’s society”

Various healthcare providers have been recipients of these awards in past years. The State Medical University of Turkmenistan received an international award for “European quality”, as did the Clinical Center of the Sarajevo University (KCUS). The College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan has been declared as the “best postgraduate institution of the world” by the International Socrates Committee. The Al-Afia Clinic in Libya has been awarded “the best enterprise in healthcare”.

EBA also publishes ratings in the area of healthcare and medicine “formed on the basis of marketing analysis of the world market by EBA monitoring centers, research of international and national rating agencies, and expert assessments of leading specialists”. Hmmm…. Here’s the EBA rankings for medicine.

You can also sign up to become one of EBA’s “Knights of the International Order of Grand Master La Valette” for those who “appreciate lofty human values: honour, loyalty, courage, generosity, mercy, nobility, gallantry”.

It all sounds a bit odd…. And it is.

A few years back, I was asked to speak at one of EBA’s events in Malta. It was a strange affair.

The business model…. “You get what you pay for”

Some web research uncovers the business model behind the European Business Assembly. Several investigative journalists and business bloggers have published their take on their activities..

  • In The Dublin Vanity Awards, Viktor Posudnevsky writes “most of these prizes were vanity awards which the recipients had paid for themselves. Some of the participants of the Dublin event told me confidentially that they were offered an EBA award in return for £5,000.”
  • A Kazakh businessman describes how his company got a letter from EBA saying it was nominated for the “Socrates International Award”. There was also a price list: the European Quality and Best Enterprise awards would cost £3,800 each, while the “Queen Victoria Commemorative medal” was a little more expensive at £6,200.
  • The Centre of Investigative Reporting tells how “private firms and individuals from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia have been receiving the awards from Oxford-based European Business Assembly (EBA) for years” and “found that lucrative business is behind awards ceremonies… The winners pay for the awards and participation in the ceremonies in the amounts of several thousand Euros. In some cases the winners help themselves to taxpayer money. The selection criteria is nowhere to be found.”
  • A Malaysian journalist questioned the Legitimacy of international award conferred to Forest Research Institute Malaysia”. Its Director General, Datuk Dr Abd Latif Mohmod, was awarded the International Socrates Award for Manager of the Year and was one of 17 recipients of the “Name of Science” Award for his “contribution to world science”. According to the journalist, EBA had approached other Malaysian businesses quoting the cost of the “official package of the event for the nomination laureate” at £5,400.

Here’s how it works…

Based on the research undertaken by the various journalists who have investigated EBA’s activities, here’s my understanding of how it works.

  1. EBA sends a letter or an email to a multitude of businesses across the world informing them of their nomination for an impressive sounding award. The targets are often in developing countries and in Eastern Europe.
  2. The EBA trades off its association with “Oxford” to give the organisation some credibility.
  3. Some online voting takes place (or the EBA Committee decides who has the deepest pockets…) Who votes… who knows?
  4. Organisations, hospitals and clinics are informed that they have “won” an award and are invited to attend the awards presentation.
  5. But there’s a price for winning an award.
  6. They are asked for several thousand euros for the privilege of participating in the award ceremony.
  7. EBA then creates an event financed by the money received from the award “winners”.
    If you’re attending the “Summit” in Stresa, Italy in a couple of weeks time, let us know how you got on.

And if you have won an award, let us know how much it cost!

Related links

  • http://www.turkmenistan.gov.tm/_eng/?id=2534
  • https://www.facebook.com/PAUS.PK/posts/723567880986794
  • EBA rankings for medicine
  • The Dublin Vanity Awards

Previous comments on this article

Thanks for this Updates…
I got a mail from EBC (Sofia Davis <[email protected]>) on April 3, 14 saying;

Md. Afzal Siddiqui
Marlin Safe Med Journey

Dear Sir,
First let me express deep respect towards you and all your team!
I’m honoured to inform that your company has been ranked on the list of dynamic and successful businesses. The Socrates Committee has nominated your company for the prestigious international awards in the quality and management spheres. This is in recognition of your excellent business reputation, effective management and constant growth and will qualify you to be part of the International award ‘Best Enterprise’ in the tourism and recreation sphere.
The research was conducted by the analytical centres of the Europe Business Assembly (EBA, Oxford, Great Britain). Your company was chosen when ranked against criteria such as: investment attraction, high staff qualification, application of modern promotional, advertising and IT methods, fast response to new market trends, new travel products adaptation and for professional and modern management methods. Kindly contact us for registration in nomination procedure.
The results of the research will be presented at the Stresa, Italy during the Health and Wellness Tourism Sumit of Leaders (1­4 July 2014). The Summit is an annual event where healthcare and travel leaders meet to shape the future of the industry. The event will provide efficient mutual dialogue and best experiences exchange of participants representing the following directions: tourism and resorts, healthcare, finance, architecture, construction and city planning and health‐friendly technology.
The Health and Wellness Tourism Summit culminates with the Traditional Award Ceremony Achievements ­ 2014 that will take place at the Grand Hotel des Illes Borromees (Stresa, Italy). There will be a celebration in honour of the top managers, companies, and establishments.
The project is financed by accreditation fees and sponsors. The accreditation fee includes:
1. preliminary competitiveness peer review by marketing specialist;
2. placing the company’s data in the official catalogue and the dynamic companies list;
3. placing the CEO’s data in the official catalogue and the successful managers list;
4. 5‐year certificate (license) to use the award brands (royalty) for PR and image;
5. Laureate’s diploma, memorable prize and medal;
6. promotional and publicity services during the award ceremony, participation in the event for one company representative;
7. in case a laureate is not able to attend, the attributes are delivered to the appointed address.
We will be glad to see you among the event participants and hope you will find it useful for future business success.

Yours sincerely,
EBA Coordinator
Sofia Davis

I thank them for nomination and wait for the final result. After one month I did’t hear from their side and send them back a mail asking the process and link of online voting to share with my past clients/ patients and I surprised from their response;

Marlin Safe Med Journey have been already chosen as Best Enterprise award recipient. We will be glad to see your company at EBA Business Meeting, Stresa, Italy. 1-4 July, 2014.

and the participation fee was;
£3500 personal participation
£3800 distant participation with delivery of award set by a special courier to your country

I write them that when I am winner then why I pay a huge money. I can bear my own travel expanses not more. I am still waiting for their reply 😉

Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui (24/08/2014 05:28:38)

Thanks for exposing this scam. Caveat emptor indeed.

Ed McCarthy (11/07/2014 15:35:53)

The Malta conference a “strange affair”? That’s where we first met!

Oh, I see what you mean…. :-/

Rob Dickman (30/06/2014 14:02:34)