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Educación Médica

Print version ISSN 1575-1813

Educ. méd. vol.11 n.2  Jun. 2008




Lisbon Declaration on the relationship between Medical Schools and Healthcare Systems in 2007

Declaración de Lisboa. Las relaciones entre las facultades de medicina y los sistemas sanitarios en 2007



J. Viñas Salasa, D. Gordonb

a Rector de la Universitat de Lleida. E-mail:
b President of the Association of Medical Schools in Europe (AMSE).



The Association of Medical Schools in Europe (AMSE) recognizes that there is a common set of issues across Europe relating to the relationship between Medical Schools and the health systems in which they operate.

Closer working between Medical Schools and University Hospitals is essential, involving dialogue between Deans and Chief Executives. Clear clinical and clinical academic leadership of affiliated hospitals is required.

The tensions identified between Medical Schools and their affiliated hospitals include differences in time frame: a hospital must meets its targets, where diagnosis and treatment must be made in hours, days or weeks as required; a Medical School has a perspective of years and decades, educating students for a lifetime of evolving clinical practice, and supporting research that may not demonstrate its significance for many years. Financial challenges are important: the budget of the hospital is always much greater than that of the Medical School. There are problems for institutions caused by the lack of communication over policy between Ministries for Health and for Education, or equivalent.

Medical Schools must strive to form close ties with all affiliated organizations in the health care system in which they operate, appreciating the wide range of settings in which the student must train, in order to gain the diversity of experience necessary to develop as a well-rounded, competent doctor.

The provision of experience and training for students in Primary Care settings allows them to develop an understanding of the full spectrum of disease seen in the community, complementing experience from the specialized cases treated in a tertiary hospital setting. Through affiliation with a Medical School, Primary Care practices, and other organizations, gain in prestige and a potential increase in patient volume. Practitioners themselves gain opportunities for continuing professional development. Such incentives could be outlined to General Practices by Medical Schools seeking to establish teaching and research networks in Primary healthcare. The development of relationships between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary centers and the Medical School, benefits the community in which these organizations are based, leading to inward investment in research and development and so an increase in the wealth, and ultimately health, of the local population.

Teaching and research in community settings and within University Hospitals should be seen as the essential components of medical education: the two complementary sides of the same coin. Medical Schools must recognize and plan for the training needs of the 21st Century doctor, providing the skills to allow these healthcare professionals to adapt to changing patterns of disease, of healthcare provision, evolving patient expectations, and so preparing them for future healthcare challenges.

Students themselves are changing, not only in relation to their technological proficiency on entrance to Medical School but also in respect of their attitudes and values. Models of medical training should recognize this and seek to harness such developments.

AMSE is fully supportive of an independent system of accreditation and quality assurance of medical education in all settings, including medical schools, teaching hospitals and other healthcare settings, and of efforts to drive up standards of medical education. AMSE, with the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME), is to build on success in leading the Quality Assurance taskforce under MEDINE 1, by taking a lead in MEDINE 2, and will further explore issues relating to Quality Assurance at its Annual Conference in Barcelona, 2008.

AMSE can act as a vehicle through which best practice across Europe, and more widely, can be shared. In developing relationships with University Hospitals and Primary Care, the following principles could prove helpful:

• Clear leadership from Medical School Deans in relation to strategy and policy in the development of teaching strategies and other areas of mutual interest, including research, in affiliated organizations, both hospitals and community services.

• The need to develop a common set of goals and objectives in partnership with these affiliated bodies.

• Obligatory involvement of the Medical Faculty in appointments for staff at affiliated healthcare providers.

• Recognising that, although Europe may have much to learn from models internationally, for example in North America and other parts of the world, Medical Schools should not seek simply to impose external models on European structures, but to develop and implement systems that are appropriate for local need.

• Effective high-level communication between the Medical School and its healthcare partners, with appropriate cross-representation on the relevant governing bodies.

• Assuring mentors and tutors in all organizations are well-trained and fully qualified, and that there is strong Quality Development and Quality Assurance of their role, and of education and of other activities.

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