Doppelgänger Bismarck or Beveridge?

Daniel Archer & Michael Kotrba
Daniel Archer & Michael Kotrba | Photo: Goethe-Institut/ Magnus Pölcher & Sounds Right

Daniel Archer (UK, a consultant in head and neck cancers) and Michael Kotrba (Germany, a specialist in Orthopaedics and Trauma) discuss their work in the hospitals of each other’s country. Which service is better? Is the reputation of the German health system – the first in Europe – as rich and successful justified? How do doctors in the British NHS cope with what seems like a new crisis every week? Are Germans healthier than the British? Get the inside story on German and English hospitals from two leading doctors.

Daniel Archer


Daniel Archer is a distinguished British doctor; a specialist in Oral and Maxillo-Facial cancers and surgery. He grew up in Liverpool and trained in London, at King’s College Hospital Dental Surgery School and at St George’s Hospital Medical School. 

He also spent a formative time working and living in Germany as a Registrar (Assistenzarzt) at the University Hospital in Münster, Westphalia. He learnt to speak German there and at the Goethe-Institut in London. 

During his long career, Daniel Archer has been a consultant at several leading London hospitals: the Royal Marsden, Central Middlesex, Royal Brompton & Harefield and Atkinson Morley; he is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Cancer Research. He travels the world to speak at medical conferences on his research into head and neck cancers. 

He also has many passions outside the operating theatre, such as Polar exploration and reading poetry. 

However, he proudly says that his greatest claim to fame is the operation he performed to remove a nasal cancer for the England football manager Bobby Robson…: “I got more feedback from my mention in the Liverpool Daily Post for that operation than from all my international work!” Audio wird geladen  

Michael Kotrba


Dr Michael Kotrba is a German consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, based at Croydon University Hospital Trust in south London. He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, but his parents settled in Germany in 1968 after the collapse of the Prague Spring. He was educated at a Gymnasium in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, and then in England at Lord Weymouth School and Salisbury College. 

He has been an anglophile since he was very young and in England gained his first degree - in Human Biology. He took his medical degree at the University of Heidelberg, followed by hospital training in the UK – at the famous Royal Free Hospital – and in Canada, Germany and Switzerland. Michael Kotrba is a very well-travelled doctor! He has held hospital posts in Lübeck, Blankenburg (Harz), Konstanz, Ludwigsburg and Adelaide, South Australia. 

But in 2004, he left Germany in order to work permanently in the UK. He has since developed a number of specialist spinal operations at the Croydon University hospital, including the replacement of cervical (neck) discs and introduced a cost-saving spinal implant procedure from Germany. 

Dr Kotrba has two children, one born in Germany, the other in the UK, whom, he says, “we try to bring up as very international.”  Audio wird geladen