Publication Details

Dahl, H. Dieter. (2012). Why do surgeons leave Germany?. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft fur Chirurgie Germany: MCN.

Additional Publication Information

Passion and enthusiasm are main driving forces for becoming a surgeon. These virtues are beyond teaching. Many of us had earlier or later in our career contact with inspiring surgeon personalities. The passion for surgery was reinforced over time again and again through living examples.


Introduction: The topic of migrating doctors and in particular surgeons is not confined to Germany. Many countries, amongst them Australia, simply do not train enough doctors to be self-sufficient. Germany is different. It has excellent university facilities and a well-defined and structured medical curriculum. Junior surgeons have a very high exposure to patients and procedures as compared to Australia. Yet increasing numbers of students and potential surgeons are leaving Germany. Why is this?

Materials and methods: In a mix of personal experience, literature review and reasoning the problems of retaining junior surgeons shall be demonstrated. Experiences from fellow colleagues working overseas shall be added.

Results: Since the public shift of concern from “Ärzteschwemme” to “Ärztemangel” especially the surgical departments are starting to feel the heat. Numerous surveys, articles and suggestions on how to tackle the problem constantly resist naming the real problems. Years of demeaning behaviour from administrations, the public and the media paired with the experiences of senior surgeons bullied out of office or simply made redundant with no reason are not an incentive to become a surgeon in Germany, no matter how fulfilling the life as a surgeon may be.

Conclusion: While the suggestions from the BDC and DGCH to ease the situations may be all correct:

create more half-day jobs

create childcare facilities open during working hours

create structured training plans facilitate implementation of the EU working directive and others

there are no plans to addres;' the unscrupulous behaviour of administrations towards doctors in general and to senior surgeons in particular the fraudulent attitude as far as payment is concerned more to add…limited list as no. of words limited.

The examples of Australia and England show us the consequences of an over boarding bureaucracy.

Germany with its genuine history of medical development deserves better.

Link to publisher version (URL)

German Medical Science



Link to publisher version (DOI)