MedUni Wien against new Medical Universities: Warning against "Dr. med. light"
(APA/Vienna/Innsbruck/Baden, 05-04-2016) - The Medical University Vienna clearly opposes the establishment of further medical universities in Austria. Currently, there were plans for a private "Medical School" in Tirol as well as a private university in Baden (Lower Austria) concentrating on training. On Monday evening, Rector Markus Müller spoke before journalists and warned against "second-class education" and "Dr. med. light".In Innsbruck, federal politics in cooperation with Medizin-Uni Innsbruck and the Private Universität für Gesundheitswissenschaften, Medizinische Informatik und Technik (UMIT) (private university for health sciences, medical informatics and technology) is attempting to establish a "Medical School" particularly designed to ensure Tyrol's supply with physicians. An international investor group in Baden also wants to create new medical studies."Together with those two, we would have ten suppliers of medical studies in Austria, which is slightly unusual and another special path", so Müller. "Here, attempts are made to exploit a structural problem in the health system, to ultimately make money." This could lead to a "second-class education": "On one hand, a 'Dr. med.' at research universities with international vision and the emphasis on an academic position, on the other a 'Dr. med. light' with an extremely regional position and an educational concept primarily aiming at trade qualifications." A question of standardsMüller is afraid that "medicine will be de-academised and degraded to a vocational school level". This would also be a break with the international style. Part of the professional identity of medical universities was also that their graduates could "understand what is written in the 'New England Journal of Medicine' without requiring an explanation from a pharmaceutical consultant". Müller sees "problems" in the current handling of the accreditation of private universities by the responsible Quality Assurance Agency QA Austria. "We have already been surprised by the certification of previously accredited private universities." There, assessments as to how many graduates of the applying institutions were available were made according to extremely formalistic criteria. On the other hand, research was not considered sufficiently."We would not object if John Hopkins had opened a location here", so the Principal. This would always be a question of standards. "The yardstick to obtain accreditation here is so low that it would not be internationally acceptable." According to his opinion, it would be sufficient if AQ Austria "were to internally position its yardstick differently": "This would be acceptable by law." Busek: "Loss of substance" for existing medical universitiesAs Müller, also University Council Chairman Eckard Busek pointed out that Austria was already producing enough physicians. "Naturally, there is also a deficit in established physicians. Now, it would require contemplation as to where the trained people went and why. This would not even require the minister for economic affairs, but the health and social department. "But there is complete silence."The new establishments also constitute a "loss of substance" for the existing medical universities. Naturally, the competition was attempting to poach habilitated personnel, so Busek. At the same time, the new medical universities were jeopardising the EU quota regulation, which reserves 75% of the study places for Austrians. "Good luck with the extension, if we establish one medical university after the other. Then, it will not be just the Upper Austrians producing physicians for the Germans, but also the Tyrolians." The country of Tyrol could quite normally invest its money in the Medical University Innsbruck. "In reality, these are all exercises to serve personal prominence. Someone is trying to become famous." The argumentation by MedUni Vienna did have one sore point, admitted Busek: It is itself involved in the recently established Karl-Landsteiner Private University in Krems. This university was "a borderline case". On one hand, also Lower Austria had contemplated establishing its own medical university: "We tried to catch this." On the other hand, one was using this establishment to quasi test a PhD education according to the Bologna system and had geared the research concept to cover subjects, which were not represented in Vienna to this extent, so Müller.Currently, Austria has public medical universities in Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck as well as a medical faculty at the University Linz. Furthermore, two private medical universities are established in Krems and one in Salzburg; another one starts operation in Vienna in autumn.