Berlin combines centuries of medical tradition with the very latest medical developments. Medical history has been made over the years by the pioneering specialists at Berlin’s Charité – who include Rudolf Virchow, Robert Koch and Paul Ehrlich. As a research institution, the Charité has produced more than half of all Germany’s Nobel laureates in physiology and medicine. Thanks to its numerous outstanding projects and research units at the German Research Foundation (DFG), it remains one of Germany’s most research-intensive medical facilities to this day.
Basic clinical research plays a fundamental role when it comes to tackling ever new medical challenges, as do key disciplines in IT and nanotechnology. Every day, the close cooperation between clinical practitioners and researchers yields medical innovations that directly benefit patients. A thriving start-up scene is constantly searching for digital solutions in the area of healthcare, which additionally accelerates the pace of medical innovation in Berlin.
Berlin is one of Europe’s leading centres of science and research, thanks in particular to its focus on medicine, medical technology, biotechnology, optical technologies, information and communication technologies. Young people from all over the world come to Berlin to learn, research and teach, attracted by the city’s four universities, the Charité teaching hospital, seven universities of applied sciences and over 30 private universities.
Technology parks ensure intensive collaboration between researchers and practitioners. More than 1,000 companies, ten non-university research centres and Humboldt-Universität’s Campus Adlershof are based at the Berlin Adlershof Science City, for example. This makes Adlershof one of the most successful high-tech hubs in Germany. Over 15,000 people work at this well-developed urban site, which is also home to over 6,500 students.
Covering 31,000 square metres, Campus Berlin-Buch is one of Germany’s largest biotech parks, combining basic and medical research with a particular focus on biotechnology and biomedicine. A dedicated centre provides support to start-ups, and numerous life sciences companies are based here. The campus atmosphere is conducive to intensive technology transfer and makes interdisciplinary projects possible.
All national research organizations – such as the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (FhG), the Helmholtz Association (HGF), the Leibniz Association (WGL) and the Max Planck Society – are represented in Berlin, each of them with several institutes. Founded in 2009, the Einstein Foundation Berlin promotes science and research at the highest international level with a view to establishing Berlin long-term as an attractive centre for science.
Berlin is the congress capital in Germany and for the last years has been one of the top five international destinations for meetings and conventions. The largest part goes back to events in the medical and pharmaceutical sector. The Berlin Convention Office provides an up-to-date overview of the forthcoming events: Congress Calendar Medical & Pharmaceutical.
Each year in October Berlin is hosting the World Health Summit, where more than 1.600 leaders and stakeholders meet from academia, politics, the private sector and civil society organizations. Current and future health issues and challenges in health care are discussed from different perspectives.
Some 1.2 million people work as nurses in Germany. In Berlin, around 42,000 nurses in hospitals provide care to patients, as well as to sick and older people in outpatient care facilities. Training of nurses is regulated by law and takes three years, with an examination at the end. Qualified nurses can then embark on further training, specializing for example in areas such as surgery or intensive care. Nurses have sound medical knowledge, and tend to have extensive professional experience of dealing with patients. Quality-oriented hospitals attach great important to the further training of their nursing staff. They make additional courses available to them, as well as refresher courses aimed at keeping their skills up-to-date, e.g. in the area of wound treatment or hygiene.
Patients in hospitals can always turn to a nurse with any question, be it of a medical, personal or social nature. Many Berlin hospitals provide multilingual care, employing international nurses who are able to talk to patients in their native languages. Where this is not possible, an interpreter can often be provided.
Complete recovery after a hospital stay often requires further medical support. A patient who has undergone orthopaedic surgery may already be quite capable of coping with everyday life, but will still need to undergo physiotherapy or additional treatments to further the convalescence process. In such cases patients can take advantage of the ambulatory physiotherapy services on offer in Berlin. With a referral from their specialist, the patient will arrange an appointment with a physiotherapy practice, preferably close to their hotel or apartment, after checking that the required services are on offer there. The physiotherapist then draws up an individual treatment plan together with the patient, working out which treatment sessions will be necessary over a specific timeframe.
A broad range of specialist suppliers of healthcare products and pharmaceuticals can be found throughout Germany, and this is certainly true of Berlin – the city boasts more than 900 pharmacies that have a legal mandate to supply medicines and other pharmaceutical products. Pharmacies also offer night-time and emergency services, and compound individual medications on site. The full range of over-the-counter and prescription drugs is available from pharmacies, which will also provide extensive expert advice about how to take or apply the product in question. There are tougher regulations governing prescription drugs in Germany than for example in the USA and many other countries. As a result, you may find that a drug you can buy over-the-counter at home requires a prescription here. There are also more than 250 specialist medical supply stores in Berlin, where patients with a prescription can obtain products such as orthopaedic insoles, customized shoes or walking aids. The expert staff at these shops can provide advice about supplies for diabetics, persons with sports injuries or wheelchair users.