Health insurance companies: There is no shortage of doctors

Health insurance companies: There is no shortage of doctors now and in the future.

(06.09.2010) According to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance (GKV), there is currently no shortage of doctors in Germany. In doing so, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds contradicts the current representations and figures from the German Medical Association (BÄK) and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV). Both associations warned at the weekend that there could be around 7,000 fewer GPs in 2020. The shortage of doctors will be particularly noticeable in rural areas. "If you compare the number of departures with the expected additions by 2020, there will be almost 7,000 fewer GPs in Germany than before. This number is alarming," argued Dr. Andreas Köhler, CEO of the KBV.

The health insurance association, however, sees no shortage of doctors. "We have more specialists than enough and there is no serious indication that this will change in the foreseeable future," said Johann-Magnus von Stackelberg, vice-chair of the GKV umbrella association. Von Stackelberg sees the figures presented as an attempt by doctors to set the mood in order to "implement billions in fee increases every year". However, the Vice President of Health Insurance also admits that there could be problems in the country in the future if something is not done in time. General practitioners are already missing in some rural areas. "That is why we are demanding that in the future all doctors will only be able to settle in regions where there is a real need," said the association vice president.

The Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians and the Federal Medical Association had issued a joint statement on Friday warning that the number of doctors would decrease by 7,000 doctors in the next ten years if countermeasures were not taken in good time. In some specialist areas - especially ophthalmologists, dermatologists and neurologists - and in hospitals, doctors are increasingly lacking, the associations say. The figures presented show that fewer and fewer doctors are filling the positions of physicians who have retired due to age. This is especially the case in the country. There are already 5,000 vacant doctor positions in hospitals.

The two associations blame, among other things, the deteriorating working conditions. Because numerous doctors would migrate abroad. In 2009 alone, 2,486 German doctors emigrated. Around 17,000 German doctors are currently working abroad. "We don't have these doctors here. We therefore have to ensure that working conditions for doctors in Germany become more attractive, ”says Köhler. (sb)

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