NRW Minister: Doctors have to speak German

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NRW: Minister demands German language skills from doctors

Guntram Schneider (SPD), Minister of Social Affairs in North Rhine-Westphalia, demands that doctors have a good command of German. This is a basic requirement to be able to work as a doctor in Germany.

In the interest of patient safety For the North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Social Affairs Guntram Schneider (SPD), good knowledge of German remains a prerequisite for being able to work as a doctor in Germany. He told the German Press Agency: "Of course, doctors who want to work in German hospitals or in other areas of the healthcare system must be able to speak German - in the interest of patient safety, but also of the doctors themselves." Language tests are one of the things foreign doctors do important basis for professional recognition in North Rhine-Westphalia. “Knowledge of German is at the top. That is a matter of course, ”said Schneider.

Language tests for foreign doctors In these tests, the foreign doctors must, among other things, conduct a patient interview and write a doctor's letter. Around 39 percent of applicants in the Cologne region failed the language tests, which can be repeated as often as they want. Estimates by the German Foundation for Patient Protection assume that around 20 percent of all medical treatment errors in Germany are due to language problems. NRW Minister of Health Barbara Steffens (Greens) announced that the specialist language tests for foreign doctors will be the responsibility of the medical associations.

More patients should be able to speak English With his current statements, Minister of Social Affairs Schneider wants to counter the impression that he requires patients to have knowledge of English in order to be able to speak to foreign doctors. Four weeks ago, on the sidelines of an event on the topic of "Integration through training", the minister told a local radio that some doctors working in this country have only poor knowledge of German. "The problem would be solved if more patients knew English than before," said Schneider at the time.

Criticism from the Patient Protection Foundation The Patient Protection Foundation had criticized him for this in the past few days and said that Schneider was pushing the buck. “But they don't need an English course, they need qualified medical help. Above all, this requires a good knowledge of German by the doctors, ”says Eugen Brysch, the board member of the foundation.

Number of foreign physicians has doubled There is a shortage of doctors in Germany and therefore clinics and cities are grateful for specialists from abroad. According to the "Rheinische Post", the number of foreign doctors in NRW has doubled since 2005. According to the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Health, around 6,000 of the 37,500 hospital doctors in North Rhine-Westphalia alone come from abroad. (ad)

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