“Workshop on University Hospitals in Terms of Medical and Health Education in State Higher Education Institutions” Held at CoHE

December 27, 2021 / Ankara

The Council of Higher Education held the " Workshop on University Hospitals in Terms of Medical and Health Education in State Higher Education Institutions " to discuss the issues related to medicine and health education in state higher education institutions.

CoHE President Erol Özvar chaired the meeting held at the Council of Higher Education. CoHE members, the rectors, deans and related academics of state universities with medical schools attended the workshop.

In his opening speech, CoHE President Erol Özvar stated that the number of state medical schools where medical education and training is offered was 91. He noted that 92 thousand 159 students in state medical schools and 18 thousand 152 students in medical schools affiliated with foundation universities were studying to become doctors, adding that 110 thousand 331 students were currently studying in medical schools in Turkey.

Özvar pointed out that the last three years of six-year medical education and all of the specialty programs in medicine were carried out in health practice and research centers that belonged to universities or health practice and research centers belonging to the Ministry of Health which gained the identity of "university hospital" according to the protocols. He noted that while nearly half of the universities (44 universities) had their own hospitals, other universities continued their education and training services in affiliated hospitals.

- The decision processes for health services must be quick and responsive

CoHE President Özvar emphasized that the decision processes for health services must be quick and responsive due to the nature of the services . “In addition to providing high-level health services, the main duties and responsibilities of faculty members working in university hospitals include having serious medical scientific knowledge as a result of deep specialization, spending time and energy on education and training (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, minor) and research,” he said.

“The financial sustainability of hospital enterprises is one of the most important issues at Turkish universities with hospitals. The improvements made with the persistent follow-up of CoHE and Turkish universities have not reached the desired level yet. Only a small part of the issues agreed in the 'Economic Coordination Board' meetings, which were held repeatedly, were realized. However, they were not sufficient for the resolution of the problems. The addition of the financial issues of university hospitals to the agenda of the Economy Coordination Board, which was reorganized last June with the Presidential Decree, will be an important opportunity to solve the issues quickly.

The affiliated hospitals, where Turkish universities provide health services together with the Ministry of Health, also have their own issues. Various issues stemming from the affiliation protocol signed in these hospitals within the scope of the 'Regulation on the Procedures and Principles of the Joint Use and Cooperation of Institutions and Organizations Belonging to the Ministry of Health and Relevant Units of State Universities' and the agreement that the faculty members of Turkish universities are asked to sign draw attention. The decision regarding the deduction of the BAP shares paid to the universities which was included in this regulation was brought to the court by some of the universities and the case was concluded in favor of these universities. The situation was reported to the Ministry of Health as required, and based on this judicial decision, the Ministry of Health is expected to provide the necessary convenience for the universities, which have signed a joint use protocol, regarding the payment of the revolving fund shares they spend on scientific and innovative researches.

Despite the differences, it would be a more accurate method to deal with the issues faced by Turkish university hospitals- whether they operate their own hospitals or are in affiliation with the Ministry of Health- in a holistic approach rather than just discussing them in terms of financial management. I believe that we need to systematically address the administrative, financial and academic issues such as hospital operating procedures and principles, tender procedure for the purchase of medicine and devices, VAT payments, budgeting procedures of hospitals, personal rights of healthcare personnel, out-of-hours healthcare services, internships, expertise, and measurement of the healthcare and academic performances of doctors. We also need to seek solutions to these issues under the topics such as sustainable and higher standards of health services, quality medical teaching and medical academic productivity.”

- "Campuses should be evaluated in every aspect"

Özvar also emphasized the importance of higher education to provide opportunities for young people in terms of research and development activities as well as social and cultural activities, including "volunteering activities", and sports activities. "It is pleasing to see that state higher education institutions started to give importance to volunteering activities within the framework of their missions and to the establishment of Youth Offices that encourage young people to take part in activities that will contribute to their self-confidence under the protocol signed between the Council of Higher Education and the Ministry of Youth and Sports,” he said.

- It is aimed to turn the decisions taken at the workshop into an action plan

Özvar said that they wished to create a text in which all opinions will be included in cooperation with a working group to be formed with the opinions, criticism and constructive proposals to be put forward at this meeting, and that the text would be re-evaluated by CoHE and submitted to the relevant institutions and organizations, CoHE and universities for their opinions and proposals.

He said that, as the President of CoHE, he wanted it to be known that they would do the necessary works to share the text to be prepared with the public and the government, and concluded his speech by wishing that the workshop would be fruitful.

Click here to read the full transcript of the speech made by CoHE President Prof. Erol Özvar. (in Turkish)

- Two panels were held

Following the speech of CoHE President Özvar, Prof. Vural Kavuncu, Rector of Kütahya Health Sciences University, chaired the first panel titled “Issues Encountered at State Universities without a Health Research Center (University Hospital) and State Universities Affiliated with a State Hospital linked to the Ministry of Health, and Solution Proposals” .

In the afternoon, Prof. Necdet Ünüvar, Rector of Ankara University, chaired the panel titled “Issues Encountered at State Universities with a Health Research Center (University Hospital), and Solution Proposals” .

- Rectors took part as speakers at the panels

In both panels, the rectors from different universities took part as speakers and gave information about the current situation of their universities on the subject. At the end of the panels, the participants shared their questions, suggestions and wishes and evaluated the agenda items.

It is aimed that the decisions taken at the workshop will be shared with the relevant institutions and organizations and turn into an action plan.