HRK places high demands on satellite campus models in medicine

15. May 2019

Quality should not be sacrificed in the cooperation between universities and municipal or private hospitals in medical training. The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) stressed this yesterday at its General Assembly in Rostock. It called on the federal states to carefully review such satellite campus models.

Satellite campus models are being established more and more in recent times, with the main objective being to increase the number of study places in medicine. The hope that the impending shortage in medical services in rural areas will be countered is also connected to this.

HRK President Prof Dr Peter-André Alt: "The HRK is not trying to exclude satellite campus models per se. However, they must meet the same high standards as traditional medical training in universities. The prerequisites for this are often not met in the partnerships that are currently being established. We are opposed to the misconception that this is an opportunity to set up medical training at reduced prices or solve structural problems in medical care."

The General Assembly stresses in its paper that participating hospitals need to meet the prerequisites for academic and practical training and play an active role, in particular, in patient-oriented clinical research. It also highlights the fact that senior staff must have adequate research experience and meet the general standards for academic achievement within the framework of appointing professors.

The HRK also refers to the objective defined in the Masterplan 2020 of linking clinical and theoretical training from the first semester until the end of training in future. It states that this 'vertical integration' involves particular challenges for satellite campus models considering geographical distances.

The HRK is staunchly opposed to plans to train a new type of physician as part of such collaborations, in which sacrifices are made in academic training and involvement in current research in view of professional activity in rural areas at a later point in time. "Healthcare in structurally disadvantaged areas is no less demanding than in other areas. In contrast, complex care processes tend to be even more challenging considering the high pace of innovation in medicine," said HRK President Alt.

In combating the shortage of registered physicians in rural areas, satellite campus models are less effective than tackling the causes in a targeted manner. Prospective physicians need to be relieved of the fear of working hours that do not fit around family and excess pressure through the establishment of healthcare centres, team solutions and improved interaction between health professions.

View text of the resolution

The HRK has touched on medicine and healthcare professions in recent years on numerous occasions:
Primary qualifying degree programmes in nursing, therapeutic and midwifery sciences (General Assembly, November 2017)
On quality assurance for doctoral degrees in medicine (General Assembly, November 2016)
University medicine as an integral part of the university (General Assembly, May 2016)
Franchising models in medicine and medical schools (General Assembly, May 2015)