Medical emergency number 116 117 starts on Monday

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New number for the medical emergency service starts nationwide on Monday

A new emergency number starts all over Germany on April 16, 2012. Patients who need to call a doctor in urgent cases at the weekend or at night can call 116 117. This will standardize the emergency number for the on-call medical service nationwide. In severe emergencies such as a heart attack, 112 still applies.

All over Germany, the new emergency telephone number for the on-call doctor on call will start on April 16. The new free connection will be standardized across Germany on call 116-117, as announced by the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians on Tuesday in Berlin. When a call is made, the caller is automatically forwarded to the nearest medical service.

Until then, the regionally different numbers still apply, of which there are more than one hundred thousand in Germany. Sometimes the numbers even changed, as the KBV explained. It was therefore necessary to reform the system. As of next Monday, the service will be available bundled under 116117.

Emergency medical service is not an emergency call for life-threatening situations
The medical on-call service of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians should not be confused with the emergency medical service. In situations in which the patient's life is at risk from a stroke, accident or heart attack, the nationwide number 112 must continue to be called. The medical on-call service is organized by the statutory health insurance associations together with the resident doctors and applies to members of the statutory health insurance companies. The private health insurers themselves have their own on-call service, the numbers of which are noted in the local telephone directories.

The government's patient representative, Wolfgang Zöller (CSU), welcomed the changeover. According to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, the changeover costs between three and five million euros. The costs for this, he says, are "great progress, because it ends the confusion of over a thousand ways to get to a doctor." are covered by the statutory health insurances. Every year the sick call is dialed about 3.9 million times by sick people.

The old number will remain for the time being
Because the old numbers are still in many Internet portals and telephone books, they will be retained for the time being. In some cases, these regionally different numbers even changed daily, which is why patient representatives have been calling for a unit choice for a long time. In the first few weeks, however, the new emergency number could not yet be dialed everywhere. Federal states such as Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg only follow a little later.

The numbers 116-117 call sufferers who urgently need the consultation of a doctor. The number applies if the family doctor cannot be reached at the weekend, in the evening or at night. The emergency service then sends a doctor, who is usually taken to the patient by taxi. However, because this can take some time, patients who are in life-threatening conditions should call the fire service with the number 112.

Depending on the region, the caller is forwarded directly to a doctor (usually in the country) or to a control center that coordinates a posting. If forwarding is not possible, a service center takes care of the mediation. "With the 116-117, it will be much easier for citizens to receive outpatient medical help when the practices are closed," said the patient representative, Zöller.

A uniform emergency number for the first time in the EU
Germany has thus become the first European country in the European Union (EU) to create the uniform number for the outpatient medical emergency service. The EU had already reserved 116 116 throughout Europe in 2009. In the future, the number should apply to all EU countries. In some cases, vacationers should also be able to contact German-speaking intermediaries. The uniform emergency number 112 already applies to medical emergencies and fire services across Europe. (Sb)

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