MedUni Vienna and the Vienna General Hospital: High-end medicine for the future

With the Medical University of Vienna (MedUni Vienna) and the Vienna General Hospital (AKH), two outstanding institutions are focused on one site. In 2015, MedUni Vienna came at number 58 in the field rankings of the renowned Times Higher Education Ranking list and is therefore one of the best medical universities in the world. Likewise, the AKH is one of the largest hospitals in Europe with around 2,000 beds. Since the founding of the AKH over 25 years ago, there has been a common effort for agreed strategies and management which are  being realised thanks to today's agreement. As a result, a long-term claim from the audit office has also been implemented. The contracts, which have now been negotiated, set the long-term course for the successful future of the health and scientific site of the AKH/MedUni Vienna.

The essential key points are outlined in the financial and target control contract, as well as in the basic building contract. In the common work agreement between MedUni Vienna and the AKH,  the common governance and concrete common work principles for the daily management in the AKH/MedUni Vienna cooperation are set. The agreement is supplemented by the performance agreement made at the end of December between the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) and MedUni Vienna, in which particularly the scientific performance spectrum and its financing for the next three years are set.

Long-term planning at all levels - 2.2 billion euros until 2030
At the core of the observations on the future cooperation lie the long-term perspectives for the health and research site, the strategic development of the medical care institution, as well as the more efficient use of tax money. To ensure the long-term security of the AKH/MedUni Vienna site, the state and city are both investing around 2.2 billion euros for building and infrastructure projects, ongoing investments and additional clinical expenses.

The financial and target control contract acts as the central agreement through the common control and financial frame conditions at the AKH/MedUni Vienna site, whereby the immediate implementation is carried out on the basis of the common work agreement between MedUni Vienna-AKH:

  • Funds are allocated based on the principles of frugality, economy, fitness for purpose and legality. The aim is to increase effectiveness and efficiency on-site.
  • For this reason, targets for scientific, teaching and care policies have been set, and these are being implemented with mutual support.
  • A common usage concept was also agreed, which should enable a uniform regulation for the required space at the AKH site, whereby the needs for patient care, research and teaching are taken into account.
  • The state and city will provide common funds of around 495.8 million euros (Vienna City: 67 percent, state: 33 percent) for the purchase and replacement of equipment, as well as the related building measures. 
  • On-going additional clinical expenses:
    -    Likewise until 2024, an annual reimbursement of 40 million euros of state costs, alongside the provision of doctors from the MedUni Vienna for patient care, is planned on the basis of the additional clinical expenses regulation to support Vienna
    -    After the contract has expired (2024 at the latest), consultations on the future amount of compensations will be made.
  • Alongside this, a sustainable relief of the burden on medical staff through simultaneous delegation on non-medical occupational groups has been agreed to create free resources for teaching and research.
  • For this purpose, a cap on medical staff (1,500 full-time equivalents) as well as other health staff (implementation of the project "Joint responsibility in the activity area") will be introduced.
  • The current AKH portion of care is 25 percent of the total care in the health institution association and this is being maintained.
  • However, a relief of the burden on the AKH in the areas of ambulance services, emergency services and emergency access has been agreed. In contrast, first aid centres should be supported.
  • The service plans and management have also been adapted so that on average at least 30 percent of the normal working time of medical staff is spent on research and teaching.

In addition to the financial and target control contract, the basic building contract regulates the most important building investments at the AKH/MedUni Vienna.

  • The state and city will both invest around 1.4 billion euros (state: 40 percent, city: 60 percent) into essential infrastructure projects until 2030, e.g. parent and child centres, OP facilities and accident and emergency, the care sector and projects on research infrastructure.
  • The building project "Translational Medicine" will make a contribution of up to 100 million euros for the development of medical research. In this way, the basic research as well as the implementation of new prevention and therapeutic approaches at the Vienna site will be further accelerated.


"With these agreements, in future we can create more room for teaching and research and the core competences of a university clinic.  Furthermore, we can attain clarity and stability through additional clinical expenses and ensure efficient and fully responsible access to used tax funds. As a consequence, on one hand we are ensuring  the long-term development of Vienna as a site for health and science and on the other hand are simultaneously strengthening university-based state-of-the-art medicine at the AKH, which is of great cross-regional importance thanks to its achievements",says the Vice Chancellor and Minister for Science Reinhold Mitterlehner.

"New and jointly staffed authorities should improve the cooperation in strategic and operative issues in the management of the AKH Vienna/the clinical sector of MedUni Vienna. The joint control ensures, in particular, a more efficient use of funds, which should have an effect further down the line in conjunction with the target control contract between the state and Vienna in a relevant cost damping process,"states Finance Minister Hans Jörg Schelling.

"AKH Vienna is the cornerstone for the medical care of the Viennese and promotes Austria as a health site. Today, we have set in stone the greatest changes for the AKH since its founding. With an agreed billion euro investment, we are securing the future of state-of-the-art medicine at an international level. At the same time, we are completely re-establishing the cooperation between AKH Vienna and MedUni Vienna.  Streamlined structures and clear responsibilities prevent the current duplications. Transparent processes and common targets ensure that the budget funds are used in the ideal way. Patients, employees and Viennese tax payers benefit from these positive changes in equal measure," points out City Counsellor for Health, Sonja Wehsely.

"Now the package is available, the state and Vienna set the course for a positive future for the AKH. With investments of around 2.2 billion euros until 2030, we enable MedUni Vienna and AKH to provide greater research, teaching and hospital care at the highest level for the entire metropolitan area of Vienna and beyond. As whatever cross-regional meaning AKH Vienna may have, we must not forget that currently around 28% of its patients come from other states," adds the Viennese City Counsellor for Finance and Economy, Renate Brauner, who hopes for important economic-political and site-political motivation through the investments: "In the existing contracts, we acknowledge that in future we must actively support the transfer of research results from the AKH in the economy and we would therefore like to further strengthen Vienna as an important site for health economics and life sciences with innovative products and services," says the City Counsellor for Finance, Renate Brauner.

"The contracts signed today represent a milestone in the history of the Medical University of Vienna and AKH. Thanks to the great efforts of all involved and despite difficult frame conditions, the leading Austrian medical institution has been able to secure a place at top international level," said Markus Müller, rector of the Medical University of Vienna.

"I would like to thank all those who participated for their cooperation, in particular the Medical University of Vienna. This cooperation represents the principles in the contracts signed today. I thank the state and Vienna for their leap of faith for the future joint management of the AKH and the clinical sector of the Medical University of Vienna. In order to strengthen and develop the top position for patient care, research and teaching, further great challenges must be overcome. The basis for these are outlined in the contracts", says Herwig Wetzlinger, Director of the Member Organisation AKH Vienna.

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