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Medicine and healthcare system

Medicine is the only subject for which the Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat, WR) issues separate and regular recommendations and statements on all issues relating to teaching, research and patient care.

In its Empfehlungen zur künftigen Rolle der Universitätsmedizin zwischen Wissenschafts- und Gesundheitssystem (Drs. 9192-21), Juli 2021 (Recommendations on the future role of university medicine at the interface between science and health systems) from 2021, the WR emphasises that university medicine has a key role to play. Therefore, the future role of university medicine in the overall system must also be clarified, so as to better exploit its great potential. The primary goal of the WR’s recommendations is to distinguish university medicine in a more pronounced way as a central institution within a future-viable and crisis-proof healthcare system, in addition to its key role in research and teaching. This requires consistent strategy development at the interface between science and the healthcare system – which calls upon the active engagement of both the federal and state governments as well as science and health policy-makers.

With its recommendations on Perspektiven der Universitätsmedizin (Drs. 5663-16), Oktober 2016 from 2016, the WR focuses on the framework conditions and resources that University Medicine requires in order to continue to fulfil its tasks in research, teaching and patient care in the future. Among other things, it recommends the establishment of profile areas in University Medicine. These should be characterised by organisational structures which are based on the division of labour and thereby provide scope for the process of functional differentiation in research, teaching and clinical care. These profile areas must meet specific requirements, including

  • research and translation services,
  • further education structures,
  • the concerns of scientists in the early stages of their academic careers, and
  • quality assurance of research and care.

Beyond providing advice regarding Medicine degree programmes, the WR addresses topics located at the interface between the science system and healthcare system. In 2012, for example, it advocated for the academisation of healthcare professions, in response to current developments in the healthcare system. With these recommendations, the WR takes into account future developments in the healthcare system as well as the increasing significance of interprofessional training elements. The WR is of the opinion that in future, qualified personnel working in the complex fields of nursing, therapy (physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy) and obstetrics should also receive university training in part. Ten to 20 percent of students from every training year should be qualified to work directly with patients in primary patient-oriented courses of study leading to a Bachelor’s degree.


Furthermore, the WR regularly comments on the development of Medicine degree programmes in individual states (Länder) most recently in Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia.