Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus


BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 09 January 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:S3-7176

“I had always wondered why there has previously been no such book of this kind - now I know!” So writes the editor of Medicine and Medical Education in Europe on the difficulty of summarising the whole process of medical education and training in 20 different countries. Although it is primarily written with the practical objective of facilitating free movement of doctors across borders, the book is a fascinating trove of cross-cultural comparisons and detailed local information that makes it irresistably browsable. Doctors in Austria, for example, are demonstrating a mastery of Latin within twelve months of commencing their studies, which may have more to do with medical schools' need to fail 50% of students in the first two years than with the language's relevance to practice.

Access to such fine grained information in one volume will be invaluable for medical students and doctors in training who wish to take advantage of their rights of mobility throughout the EU, and for those who advise them. It will also be a source of stimulation and provocation to anyone with an interest in training issues. The variations in the length of specialist training across the EU are most striking when presented in tabular form.

There are a handful of typographical errors and infelicities of English through its dense 500 pages, though in fact, the effect of meeting a phrase such as “therapeutical liberty” is to charm rather than to obstruct meaning. The book has an embryonic website at If it lives up to its promise of keeping such changing information up to date it will useful indeed.

Eysenbach G,ed. Medicine and medical education in Europe: the eurodoctor. Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag, 1998, DM 58.00