According to the doctor, deportation is imminent

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Uninsured migrants must fear deportation after visiting a doctor

Immigrants without health insurance in Germany have to expect deportation after visiting a doctor. Hundreds of thousands of migrants have no regular residence status and therefore no possibility of receiving adequate medical care. Doctors are now demanding better treatment conditions and easing bureaucracy to ensure the anonymity of the uninsured.

Immigrants do not go to the doctor because of fear of deportation. Fear of being deported later, many migrants without regular residence status do not go to the doctor when they need medical help. Doctors are now demanding more protection for the uninsured. "It must not be that people with a migration background do not go to a doctor at all, or only very late, because of fear of deportation or due to a lack of insurance coverage," explained Ulrich Clever, human rights officer at the German Medical Association (BÄK), on Thursday in Berlin then often worsen or become chronic. "Not infrequently, this ends in a medical emergency," Clever reported.

More and more people from Eastern Europe, but also immigrants from other countries, live in Germany without any form of coverage for illness. According to the Central Ethics Committee at the German Medical Association (ZEKO), between 200,000 and 600,000 people in Germany currently have no secure residence status. In addition, there would be migrants without employment and insurance protection as well as asylum seekers with or without a secure residence status. In order to be able to receive medical treatment, the asylum seeker had to apply for a health certificate from the social welfare office, which, however, was often not granted. The individual case examination is usually carried out by medically unskilled personnel. "In some asylum seekers' homes, the home management decides whether or not to call a doctor," said the chair of the Central Ethics Committee at the BÄK, Prof. Dr. Urban Wiesing. Doctors are therefore calling for a relaxation of the previous regulation, according to which many migrants without regular residence status are threatened with a notification to the immigration office and thus with deportation if they seek medical help.

Doctors call for bureaucracy to be eased in order to treat immigrants. There are also a number of unanswered questions for doctors. "Doctors often find themselves in serious ethical and sometimes legal conflict situations when medically required therapies and preventive medical check-ups have to be avoided or medical confidentiality cannot be met," said Wiesing. Children and adolescents in particular are concerned if they do not receive adequate medical care. This also included preventive examinations, vaccinations and therapies.

As the BÄK reports, medical confidentiality would be lifted on a regular basis for people without valid papers in emergencies. Although the so-called extended secret protection applies when applying for a health certificate in emergencies, the responsible authorities are largely unknown, which is why patients are reported afterwards and may then be expelled. In the event of planned inpatient interventions, the social welfare office is even obliged to inform the immigration office or the police. "For many people without a valid residence permit and their children, there is virtually no regular treatment option," ZEKO wrote in its statement. "This is fundamentally contrary to the medical ethos as set out in the Geneva pledge of the World Medical Association," said Dr. Tanja Krones, who played a leading role in ZEKO's statement.

Medical confidentiality must not be undermined even by immigrants ZEKO urgently calls for the removal of bureaucratic hurdles that make it difficult or even difficult for sick people to have access to medical care that they are entitled to under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. The doctor had to keep the decision about the need for treatment. Care must be guaranteed, especially for children and adolescents. "Medical confidentiality is a high commodity and must not be undermined by the procedure for the allocation of benefits. The relationship of trust between doctor and patient must be explicitly and reliably protected, ”says ZEKO.

According to the BÄK, the federal government has so far refused to create humane solutions, including anonymous sickness certificate. "So far, it has not been possible to clarify this with our federal government in such a way that it is regulated as in other countries," Clever reported.

Malteser Werke offer anonymous treatment Since 2001, the Malteser Werke have been offering anonymous treatment for people without a valid residence status and people without health insurance. In addition to medical care, the focus is on maintaining anonymity, so that no patient has to worry about being reported due to the treatment. "The status of many patients has changed," Angelika Haentjes-Börgers, Head of the Migration Department at Malteser Werke, told the news agency "dpa". "Only around a third are irregular migrants." Many of the patients, most of whom came from Eastern European EU countries, would often only receive treatment much later than those with regular health insurance. (ag)

Image: Gerd Altmann,

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