It is a medical specialty that is part of the general catalog of specialties of the Spanish State. It is considered as Hydrology in the R.D. 127/1984, of January 11, which regulates specialized medical training and the obtaining of the Specialist Doctor title, among the specialties that do not require hospital training. Its previous name of Hydrology is changed to Medical Hydrology following the publication of Royal Decree 183/2008, of February 8, which determines and classifies the specialties in Health Sciences and develops different aspects of the specialized health training system.
The current training program for this specialty is described in the Specialist Training Guide: Hydrology from the Ministry of Health.
Currently, it is studied through the Faculty of Medicine at the Complutense University of Madrid.
As a result of Royal Decree 639/2014, of July 25, which regulates general professional training, specific re-specialization, and specific training areas, the rules applicable to annual tests for access to training positions and other aspects of specialized health training in Health Sciences are established and certain specialist titles are created and modified. Starting in 2016, specialties cannot be undertaken outside the Residency system, so the continuity of Medical Hydrology training after that year 2016 is subject to being done within that system. The National Commission on Medical Hydrology has proposed a new study program for Residency training. It can be read in the following link: Medical Hydrology New Program Proposal.
The Spanish Society of Medical Hydrology was founded in 1877 and is one of the oldest scientific associations in Spain.
Professional Competencies of Medical Hydrologists
From the website of the S.E.H, I obtain the professional competencies of Medical Hydrologists:
The professional care activity of the Medical Hydrologist is essentially developed in:
Hydrotherapy services in General Hospital centers.
Hydrotherapy services in functional recovery centers.
But also in:
Bottled water packaging plants.
Nutrition and diet therapy units.
Peculiarities in Application
Therapeutic activities developed using water as a treatment factor, in the broadest sense (preventive, therapeutic, functional recovery, and health promotion), present extraordinary complexity due to the following peculiarities related to the environment and resources with which their work is developed:
The diversity of factors that can intervene in the therapeutic effect (type of water, derived products, climatic and environmental factors, variety of therapeutic techniques, etc.)
The diversity of pathologies susceptible to benefit from this therapy, rheumatological, traumatological, neurological, psychiatric, dermatological, pulmonary, vascular, digestive, urinary, otorhinolaryngological, gynecological, psychofunctional, etc.
The diversity of groups of population served: adults, elderly, children
The attention of emergencies
From my personal point of view, its main competency is that it is the essential medical professional for a spa to be registered in the healthcare offer U58. Medical Hydrology is considered in Annex I of R.D. 1277/2003, of October 10, which establishes the general bases for authorization of health centers, services, and establishments. U58 is defined as: an assistive unit in which a specialist doctor in Medical Hydrology is responsible for the use of mineral-medicinal and thermal waters for therapeutic and preventive health purposes.