Political issues in internal medicine in Europe. A position paper

Werner Bauer*, Petra-Maria Schumm-Draeger, Johannes Koebberling, Thomas Gjoerup, Jose Javier Garcia Alegria, Faustino Ferreira, Clare Higgens, Mark Kramer, Giuseppe Licata, Moshe Mittelman, James O’Hare, Serhat Unal
1 February 2005

What will be the future of internal medicine in Europe? Because of rapidly growing concerns regarding the position of internal medicine in many European countries, the European Federation of Internal Medicine (EFIM) has established a working group to analyze the situation. Being well aware of the variation in working practices in the different countries, the members of the group used an ‘‘all-European’’ approach to answer the following questions:

Are there problems for internal medicine? If so, what are these problems and why? Why do the health care systems in the European countries need internal medicine? Why do patients need internal medicine?

What needs to be done?

Internal medicine is the modern, clinical, and scientific medical discipline that is responsible for the care of adult patients with one or more complex, acute, or chronic illnesses. Internal medicine is the cornerstone of an integrated health care delivery service that is needed today. Decision-makers in politics and hospitals, insurers, journalists, and the general public need a better understanding of what internal medicine can offer to the health care system and to the individual patient.