Improvement in medical care planned

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Shorter waiting times at the doctor and more country doctors

According to the will of the new Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe (CDU), medical care in Germany should improve significantly in the future. Compared to the "Bild am Sonntag", Gröhe stated shorter waiting times for a doctor's appointment for those with statutory health insurance and a higher density of doctors in rural areas as key goals.

In particular, the different waiting times for patients with statutory and private health insurance have caused criticism in the past. While those insured by law often have to wait longer than four weeks for an appointment with a specialist, privately insured people are usually served more quickly, according to the accusation that has been voiced many times. In the coalition agreement, the SPD, CDU and CSU therefore agreed that waiting times for a doctor's appointment for those insured under the law should be significantly reduced in the future, Gröhe explained.

A specialist appointment within a maximum of four weeks Under the coordination of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, those who are legally insured should in future receive a specialist appointment within a maximum of four weeks and are otherwise entitled to outpatient hospital treatment, explained the new Federal Minister of Health. If the patients have to be referred to the hospital, this is paid from the health insurance budget of the resident doctors, in order to put some financial pressure on the medical profession.

In the Minister's view, an increase in the density of doctors in rural areas can only be achieved in the Minister's opinion if more and more young medical professionals are settling down as rural doctors. "I want to talk to the science ministers of the federal states about the fact that young people who commit themselves to practice in rural areas will have easier access to their studies," said Gröhe. "This could also apply to those who have had a voluntary social year, for example in the emergency medical service," continued the new Federal Minister of Health. Comparable regulations are "already practiced successfully in some federal states and at some universities."

Qualified immigration in nursing required With a view to the immigration debate currently sparked again by the CSU, the Federal Minister of Health emphasized to Bild am Sonntag that "we have only been able to survive in nursing for years because there is also qualified immigration." This applies also for nursing staff from Bulgaria and Romania. Nurses from EU countries with appropriate qualifications are generally a support here. "Under certain conditions, non-EU countries can also be considered," continued Gröhe. At the same time, however, he also wanted to make the nursing profession so attractive "that young people in Germany like to take it after school." (Fp)

Image: Rainer Sturm /

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