The interchange of medical knowledge between the Britain and Germany has long been hampered by language barriers. It has been the aim of the Society since its foundation in 1959 to achieve a ready exchange of ideas, knowledge and personnel between the two countries. The importance of English as an international language has continued to grow and by its very growth, combined with Britain’s geographical insularity, contributes to the inhibition our linguistic skills. German medical professionals and scientists widely read English research papers and literature whilst we, to our cost, fail to read theirs at first hand. To remedy this state of affairs is one of the Society’s aims and to help this our annual conferences are held alternately in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Before the 1914-18 war, Germany was perhaps the leading centre of medicine in Europe and, as such, attracted numerous ambitious young men, many from the U.K., who trained there for two or three years and returned home reasonably fluent in German. After the second world war, the English speaking world and in particular America, came to dominate the professional scene, and so, to establish a more equitable and profitable exchange of ideas was one of the earliest aims of the Society.
The Society’s main aims are as follows:
- Firstly, to encourage collaboration and to improve communications between doctors and medical scientists in the two countries.
- Secondly, to support exchanges of doctors and senior medical students, in hospitals and laboratories in both the U.K. and Germany.
- Thirdly, to promote visits and personal contacts between the hospitals and professional institutions of both countries.
- Fourthly, to hold regular annual conferences. The Annual Conference taking place over three days in September every year is an important event. The meetings are held alternately in Britain and Germany. These Conferences are the occasion for a scientific programme at which topics of current medical interest are presented by German and British experts, including non-members. At the same time there are social and cultural visits for those accompanying the members.