General practitioners criticize lack of time and bureaucracy

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General practitioners' day: Over 190 general practitioners are missing in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania alone

While there is a high density of doctors in the cities, physicians at the General Practitioners' Day in Rostock complain about the steadily increasing shortage of rural doctors. There is hardly any time for the patients, in many cases the medical structure is outdated and the bureaucracy of the health insurance companies is increasing. There is "a real undersupply", especially in northeastern Germany. There are no more than 190 general practitioners in the state of Mechlenburg-Western Pomerania.

Every fifth family doctor is over 60 years old
Around 350 doctors from the General Practitioners 'Association came together in Rostock on the weekend for the General Practitioners' Day. In the course of the event, the medical association complained about the increasing undersupply of general medical care in the country. "There are now 190 general practitioners missing in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania," warned the head of the state association, Dr. Dieter Kreye. Around 16 practices would have to close each year because no successors would take over the practice. Every fifth family doctor is now over 60 years old.

The head of the regional association named the areas around Woldegk, Schwaan and Crivitz as critical regions with a massive medical undersupply. However, the association believes that improved framework conditions for general practitioners could address the problem. Kreye especially called for "stable statements, for example, about funding conditions, fee development and a significant reduction in bureaucracy."

Settlement of family doctors in the country should be improved
Politicians gave the general practitioners association the assurance that the situation would improve. The SPD prime minister Erwin Sellering announced that he would improve the training situation and support the establishment of doctors. "We have to win more doctors for general medicine," said the Prime Minister. For this it was necessary to improve the living and working conditions for country doctors. "We need an attractive job description that also allows for families. To do this, we have to find clever models such as the operation of health homes." As a reform, Sellering proposed making it easier for general practitioners to open second practices. It is also currently examining how the transport of patients in rural areas can be improved.

Two new professorships at the universities of general medicine
As a further procedure, two professorships for general medicine were set up at the university clinics in Rostock and Greifswald. This is "not a solution to the problem within two years", as the board member Dr. Thomas Maibaum emphasized, however, this will “significantly improve the situation in ten years”. The association notes that the demand for medical students in the field of general practitioners is increasing. General medicine is now the most popular elective among students, ”said Maibaum.

Bureaucracy of the health insurance companies continues to increase
A major problem for doctors is the excessive time spent on bureaucratic handling. It is becoming increasingly difficult "to find your way through the jungle of forms for people with statutory health insurance". According to the Association of Doctors, general practitioners have to spend an average of one third of their working time on the bureaucracy of the health insurance companies. The abolition of practice fees would hardly change that. "For me it is like this: I usually sit on the weekend for three to four hours on Saturdays and Sundays to write my pension office applications, my rehab applications and justifications for health insurance companies," complains a family doctor from the district Although the doctor could free up more time for diagnosis and treatment for his patients by working at the weekend, his own private time for family and relaxation was clearly neglected. In this context, the general practitioner association called for more pressure on the part of politics to exercise the statutory health insurance funds to limit the bureaucratic work involved, whereas the health insurance funds emphasized that there was no shortage of doctors in the past and that there would be an unequal distribution, as the density of doctors in the cities was clearly too high in many places. (sb)

Also read:
No more country doctors in Germany from 2025?
Health insurance companies: Number of medical practices too high
34 percent of doctors are dissatisfied
Health insurance companies: There is no shortage of doctors
Healthcare no future viability?

Image: Rainer Sturm /

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