Background: Limited information exists on the framework and content of postgraduate education in internal medicine in Europe. This report describes the results of a survey of postgraduate training in internal medicine in the European countries.
Methods: Two online questionnaire-based surveys were carried out by the European Board of Internal Medicine, one on the practice of internists and the other on postgraduate training in internal medicine. The national inter- nal medicine societies of all 30 member countries of the European Federation of Internal Medicine were invited to participate. The responses were reviewed by internal medicine residents from the respective countries and sum- maries of the data were sent to the national societies for approval. Descriptive analysis of the data on postgrad- uate training in internal medicine was performed.
Results: Twenty-seven countries (90%) completed the questionnaire and approved their datasets. The length of training ranged from four to six years and was commonly five years. The majority of countries offered training in internal medicine and a subspecialty. A common trunk of internal medicine was frequently a component of subspecialty training programmes. Hospital inpatient service was the predominant setting used for training. A final certifying examination was in place in 14 countries.
Conclusion: Although some similarities exists, there appear to be significant differences in the organisation, con- tent and governance of postgraduate training in internal medicine between the European countries. Our findings will prove invaluable for harmonisation of training and qualification in internal medicine in Europe.