In the past, the German Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat, WR) has regularly used its general recommendations to address the structure of University Medicine and the respective training situation, which the WR considers unsatisfactory. Currently, it advocates that medical education be equally competence-oriented and practice-oriented as well as based on strict scientific standards.
Bolstering the scientific competence of future doctors is becoming increasingly important in light of constantly growing scientific insight. Scientific thought and action is required to find individual solutions for the choice of the right diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic measures for patients and to implement them in an evidence-based manner. The foundations for this, and thereby also for responsible medical practice, must be laid in medical school.
As part of its ongoing involvement in the development of medical training, and at the request of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the WR appointed an independent expert commission in 2017. Its mandate was to develop recommendations for restructuring Medicine degree programmes and amending licensing regulations on the basis of the so-called Master Plan for Medicine Degree Programmes 2020. Thanks to this plan, the cornerstone for reforming medical training has been laid by science and healthcare policy-makers both at the federal and state levels. The expert commission’s recommendations were published in 2018 and included an assessment of the financial and capacity-related effects of the planned reform.
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In July 2019, the WR appointed a working group whose task it is to analyse the implementation status of the WR´s recommendations on the development of healthcare professions (2012) and, based on this, to make recommendations for further development.
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The WR also first commented on quality assurance in medical education in Germany in 2016, including with regard to non-governmental institutions: Key Points on Non-State Medical Education in Germany | Position Paper (5100-16_engl), January 2016.
The WR considers it essential and directive that the path to the medical profession in Germany requires compliance with consistently rigorous standards and can only be reached through a Medicine degree programme that meets university standards. Non-governmental programmes under German law should therefore undergo a compulsory concept review and institutional accreditation by the WR. Cross-border programmes under European law should also be offered the option of such accreditation by the WR as a voluntary measure.