In an interview with MAGMA magazine, HPB surgeon Marc Besselink (AGEM) and gastroenterologist Roy van Wanrooij talk about the merger of Amsterdam UMC, its challenges and its benefits for healthcare provision. “We will soon have one of the coolest gastroenterology departments in Europe”.

Besselink and Van Wanrooij talk about the benefits for healthcare provision of the merger between VUmc and AMC. By bringing together specific patient groups at one location, Amsterdam UMC can guarantee the sustained availability of complex patient care. Next to the benefits for healthcare provision, Amsterdam UMC now has eight integrated research institutes, of which AGEM is one. By having all gastroenterology, endocrinology and metabolism researchers join forces in AGEM, the institute can grow to an internationally renowned research institute and attractive partner for large-scale, international and long-term studies. The same is true for the other seven research institutes.

Naturally, such a large-scale merger is also a challenge. In the interview, Besselink and Van Wanrooij talk about the associated challenges for the gastroenterology & hepatology department of Amsterdam UMC, and how these were overcome. The two physicians explain how the benefits of the merger for their department considerably outweigh the challenges. Van Wanrooij: “in December 2023, gastroenterology and GI surgery will have four nursing wards, nine endoscopy rooms, four new operating rooms for minimally-invasive surgery, two surgery robots and two new buildings: the Imaging Center and the ADORE research building.” Of course, a move on such a large scale requires a lot of planning, negotiating and team building. The physicians explain that they must have had at least 80 preparatory meetings. “The fact that we have been able to create strong multidisciplinary teams, with highly qualified staff, around specific medical conditions, helps us to better provide care to those who need it. And in the end, that is what we all turned up for”.

The full interview, available only in Dutch, can be found below: