What is a semi-public medical college

Young doctors from the laboratory

A single medical degree costs the state around 200,000 euros, other study places significantly less. Only about a third of this sum has to be spent on average in the Federal Republic of Germany. Has Brandenburg become "megalomaniac" to want to set up its own university medicine in Cottbus? Since Science Minister Manja Schüle (SPD) knows the numbers, she prefers to ask that herself on Monday before someone else does. The state of Brandenburg receives start-up funding from the federal government. It is allowed to use some of the structural funds that it receives to compensate for the lignite phase-out. But after that, Brandenburg has to keep paying itself.

On Monday afternoon, the expert commission from which Schüle wants to receive advice on the project will meet for the first time in Berlin. The director is Professor Karl Max Einhäupl, who was chairman of the board of the famous Berlin University Hospital Charité from 2008 to 2019. He has gathered six men and three women for the task, including five other professors from various universities and institutes. Lothar Wieler, President of the Robert Koch Institute, has also found himself willing to work, which Minister Schüle is particularly proud of, as he has his hands full because of the corona pandemic.

The commission should make its first recommendations in mid-2021, perhaps as early as January or February, as Einhäupl hopes. The committee will meet on site in Cottbus next time. It must be clarified whether the doctors at the large Carl-Thiem-Klinikum will be trained, which is obvious, and whether other hospitals in the region will be involved. For Einhäupl, the question arises as to whether a faculty will be created at the Technical University of Cottbus or whether medical training should be implemented by an extra university.

So far, Brandenburg wanted to be supplied with graduates from the Charité. But that has not worked optimally recently. Above all there is a lack of country doctors. Einhäupl does not want to speak of a shortage of doctors for the entire Federal Republic of Germany. When it comes to doctors per inhabitant, Germany ranks fourth among the OECD countries. The problem is probably more the regional distribution - and that young doctors are no longer willing to work seven days a week for twelve hours or more, which is what they are allowed to do.

So far, the professor has always warned against founding universities in order to conduct structural policy. That is why he was initially skeptical about university medicine in Cottbus, reveals Einhäupl. But then he took a closer look at it and now sees an opportunity to try something new here and to develop the matter so that it could become a model for the future of university medicine. In this context, he and the minister call Lausitz a laboratory. "In the past, I have avoided taking on projects that fail," says Einhäupl. "I am confident this time too." However, he is not yet able to precisely estimate the annual costs that the country will incur. "That has to be calculated," he explains.

At the moment, Brandenburg is the only federal state besides Bremen without a medical degree at a state university - with the medical university »Theodor Fontane« in Neuruppin, which is classified as private, is in fact a semi-state institution. Its sponsors are the municipal Ruppin clinics, the Brandenburg / Havel municipal clinic, the Neuruppin municipal utilities and the Sparkasse. For a long time, this university, which was founded six years ago, tried in vain to get more support from the state. The intention to use so much money in Cottbus instead caused displeasure. But Minister Schüle believes that this is done after the country wants to grant another five million euros here.

What the member of the state parliament Ronny Kretschmer (left) is still missing, however, is a statement about a possible cooperation between medical training in Cottbus and Neuruppin. He is curious about the experts' concept. "Both universities have to work together," says Kretschmer. "We value that."

In the summer of 2019, Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) informed the Carl-Thiem-Klinikum that 1000 young people should study medicine there in the future, the first 100 from the winter semester 2023/24. At that time there was talk of 1.1 billion euros in start-up financing and ongoing operating costs of 50 to 60 million euros annually. But as with the sums, Einhäupl does not want to rush to comment on the possible start date until everything has been discussed and examined in the commission. "As soon as possible," is all he says, it should start. Comment on page 9

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