Wednesday, 2 August 2017


A few first thoughts

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Conductive World reported yesterday's announcement by the Semmelweis Medical University, and the relevant items on Semmelweis's website, without making comment – but with the intention to do so:

Those who are interested in this incorporation of the PAF/ PAI into a medical university no doubt have their own thoughts. Here are mine.
  1. The date. This merger was a matter of top-down political urgency. The date 1 August gave time to catch the new academic year but left little time to get everything necessary done. It also falls in the height of the summer vacation period, when institutions are largely closed, people and politicians switch off and news, good or bad, just gets buried.
  2. 'PAK'. Nobody's fault but this is not the most felicitous acronym for many English-speakers, some of whom may be uneasy at using it. I suppose, that in Hungarian it is actually pronounced more like English 'pock' than 'pack'. The new faculty is named in honour of András Pető (as the University itself is named after Ignác Semmelweis) and so may continue known in common parlance as 'the Pető'. Or even 'the Pető Institute!
  3. Hungarian language. Semmelweis's website has an English-language version:
  4. There is now an English page called 'András Pető Faculty' (thank you, Agnes Borbély, for notifying of this). We can likely look forward to further definitive information in English This will be a considerable advance in transparency
    This page uses the more cautious descriptive term 'recognised around the world'.
  5. Website. For the moment the site remains active. Given time, Semmelweis-relevant content will presumably migrate across, and the old website  closed.
  6. World Congress. Negotiations between the two institutions had begun in November last year, in the month preceding the 9th World Congress, in Budapest. Not a whiff of this business leaked out into the Congress or, if it did, not a word went any further. Remarkable.
  7. Previous relationship. Again mention is made that 'Semmelweis University and PAF have had a long-term scientific and professional relationship, in Hungary and abroad'. Again unspecified.
  8. Working as one. The merger will 'provide new higher-education, education, research and development tasks in orthopaedics, neuroscience, movement development, complex rehabilitation and paediatrics from infancy to adulthood'. Primarily medical discourse at this point.
  9. Media interest. In the event there was very little. The announcement was made too late to catch morning editions, and what little came in the afternoon just cherry picked from this. At the time of writing, there has been nothing today.
  10. Reassuring words from Government. Later editions yesterday had reported two men from ministries.
    Balázs Hankó, who was recently appointed a ministerial commissioner to coordinate the development of higher education training courses in medicine and the health sciences: He is reported as saying that András Pető's spirit and legacy will be further strengthened by this merger. More 'patients' will be helped than ever before, for example those affected by stroke or injury – 'nothing is lost, everything remains and continues to grow and strengthen'.
    Bence Rétvári, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Human Resources, stressed that this step could increase both the international reputation of both institutions, as well as the number of students, and enhance the quality and effectiveness of rehabilitation capacities.
  11. Medical discourse. I don't know about 'András Pető's spirit and legacy'. I do again note the medical discourse. Perhaps I am too much on the look-out foe this. Perhaps everyone should be.
Just a few first-snap pernicketies. Time to move on... 



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