Background: Evidence-based medicine (EbM) is a vital part of reasonable and conclusive decision making for clinicians in daily clinical work. To analyze the knowledge and the attitude of surgeons towards EbM, a survey was performed in the UK and Germany. Methods: A web-based questionnaire was distributed via mailing lists from the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCSE) and the Berufsverband Deutscher Chirurgen (BDC). Our primary aim was to get information about knowledge of EbM amongst German and British surgeons. Results: A total of 549 individuals opened the questionnaire, but only 198 questionnaires were complete and valid for analysis. In total, 40,000 recipients were approached via the mailing lists of the BDC and RCSE. The response rate was equally low in both countries. On a scale from 1 (unimportant) to 10 (very important), all participants rated EbM as very important for daily clinical decision making (7.3 ± 1.9) as well as for patients (7.8 ± 1.9) and the national health system (7.8 ± 1.9). On a scale from 1 (unimportant) to 5 (very important), systematic reviews (4.6 ± 0.6) and randomized controlled trials (4.6 ± 0.6) were identified as the highest levels of study designs to enhance evidence in medicine. British surgeons considered EbM to be more important in daily clinical work when compared to data from German surgeons (7.9 ± 1.6 vs. 6.7 ± 2.1, p < 0.001). Subgroup analysis showed different results in some categories; however, a pattern to explain the differences was not evident. Personal requirements expressed in a free text field emphasized the results and reflected concerns such as broad unwillingness and lack of interdisciplinary approaches for patients (n = 59: 25 in the UK and 34 in Germany). Conclusion: The overall results show that EbM is believed to be important by surgeons in the UK and Germany. However, perception of EbM in the respective health system (UK vs. Germany) may be different. Nonetheless, EbM is an important tool to navigate through daily clinical problems although a discrepancy between the knowledge of theoretical abstract terms and difficulties in implementing EbM in daily clinical work has been detected. The provision of infrastructure, courses and structured education as a permanent instrument will advance the knowledge, application and improvement of EbM in the future.

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