Too many hospitals with too few staff – the head of the panel doctors considers a reduction in locations to be inevitable. This could also be achieved by strengthening outpatient treatments.
In view of the planned hospital reform, the head of the panel doctors, Andreas Gassen, has called for the reduction of overcapacity in Germany’s clinics. “In the course of the hospital reform, we will of course have to dismantle or convert hospitals. Anyone who says otherwise is closing their eyes to reality,” said the chairman of the board of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” (NOZ/Tuesday). “Historically, we have far too many hospitals, usually with far too few staff. It would therefore only be logical if we pooled the staff that we have at the clinics that we undoubtedly need.”
A bed reduction is possible if the potential of strengthening outpatient treatments is used, said Gassen. Of around 20 million hospital cases, five million could be treated immediately on an outpatient basis, said the KBV boss. “In Germany, operations are performed in hospitals that have been done on an outpatient basis in the rest of the world for years.” In the future, the services could be provided in practices, in care centers or in hospitals where clinicians and residents work together.
Gassen demanded that Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also ensure the same standards and remuneration as part of his hospital reform. “When resident specialists resort to the scalpel, they have to be paid the same for outpatient procedures as their hospital colleagues, as is common practice outside of Germany,” he emphasized. According to the KBV, it represents the political interests of around 185,000 outpatient doctors and psychotherapists in practices.
According to Lauterbach, the key points for the hospital reform law should be available by the summer break. The plans of the traffic light coalition aim to classify the grown clinic network into three care levels and to finance them accordingly – from basic care close to home to a second level with other offers up to maximum care providers such as university clinics. In Germany there are currently around 1900 hospitals with more than 480,000 beds.
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