In future, the profile of gastroenterology in Germany - as in other countries - will change. New achievements such as capsule endoscopy, aero-scopes and advanced CT and MRI technology and others will become alternatives to conventional endoscopy. Additional emphasis in clinical and outpatient gastroenterology is shifted towards gastrointestinal oncology, dietetics, nutrition and metabolism and in the clinical setting onto infectious diseases, endocrinology/diabetology, intensive care medicine, emergency service and geriatric medicine. The German Confederation of Gastroenterology (BVGD) initiated two Germany-wide surveys on the current diagnostic and therapeutic spectrum in hospitals and out-patient facilities to achieve a base for future discussions regarding the development of gastroenterology. The number of gastroenterologists working in hospitals and in out-patient facilities has been analysed as well as the number of examinations passed successfully during the last few years in the speciality "gastroenterology". The results of this survey offer a valid basis for continuing discussions as to how gastroenterology should develop in Germany.