To evaluate the European potential for education and transfer of medical technology to clinical practice, to disseminate through experts, going from one country to another, the expertise developed in the expert's host country, and to stimulate a European spirit in academic clinical medicine among both younger trainees and heads of departments of medicine. These goals were to be achieved by the multilateral exchange of trainees in internal medicine.
The project 'The evaluation of clinical practice in hospitals' has created a network of major university affiliated teaching hospitals in order to exchange postgraduate trainees in internal medicine. 14 academic institutions from 5 EuropeanCommunity (EC) countries and Switzerland sent and received candidates. An additional 6 institutions from 6 EC countries only sent trainees to the institution of the first 5 EC countries. 137 trainees were then exchanges.
The project demonstrated the feasibility of exchanging successfully postgraduate trainees involved in the actual delivery of health care despite differences in language, in medical curriculum and in health service structure. Specific assets of the participating countries have been identified, such as the larger and beneficial role of the nurses on the continent, the bedside teaching approach and clinical skills of British centres, the organization of home delivery care in Denmark and Belgium, the ready availability of sophisticated technical equipment on the continent. As a result of the exchangees' reports several adaptations have been implemented in the host institutions.
Access for the best EC trainees to the best clinical training centres of the EC has broadened the horizons of the participants including starting occasionally a research career and has developed a common European grassroot spirit.