Chaos in doctor’s surgeries, overcrowded emergency rooms, clinics on the limit, shortage of nursing care – sometimes dramatic conditions prevail in our healthcare system. Urgently needed reforms were missed or blocked. Experts are calling for a radical change of course – now.
One often hears that Germany has “the best healthcare system in the world”. Apart from the fact that this claim shows excessive hubris and typical German arrogance – it can be doubted.
Professor Jochen A. Werner, CEO and medical director of the Essen University Hospital, calls the statement “false”. It doesn’t get any better through repetition either, “only more embarrassing”. In his book “So sick is the hospital”, published in autumn 2022, the top doctor with 40 years of professional experience states: “It’s not enough to be world champion, not even European champion.”
The drastic finding should not surprise anyone. The German healthcare system with its 5.8 million employees is in a deep crisis. it’s sick seriously ill.
The effects are visible everywhere:
The patients are the ones who suffer. Instead of being better cared for, they repeatedly have to accept cuts in benefits and shoulder additional costs – for medication, glasses, dentures and so on.
Added to this is the fact that many in our healthcare system only feel like a number, as a factor in a cost-benefit calculation, as a necessary part of a strategy that obviously has only one goal: maximizing profits.
In clinics and practices, many people experience that doctors have no time for them, do not listen to them properly and are only busy rushing from patient to patient. Sick people who actually need affection, intercession and undivided attention perceive the health system as inhuman, as cold.
Month after month, more than 57 million people in Germany pay up to 16.5 percent of their wages into statutory health insurance. The 96 cash registers have enormous income as a result. In 2021 it was 278.6 billion euros. That is more than the gross domestic product of EU member Finland.
And although the insured constantly have to transfer higher contributions, the money never seems to be enough. In 2021, the cash registers had a deficit of 6.7 billion euros – the highest minus since German reunification. Experts warn that there could even be a financial deficit of 17 billion euros in 2023.
The explosion in costs combined with growing frustration on all sides shows that something is going terribly wrong in the health care system.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is planning a major hospital reform to free the clinics from the economic pressure that patients and staff in particular are currently suffering from.
It remains to be seen whether this step will really become a “revolution”, as Lauterbach says. Many experts are missing a long-term master plan that would make the ailing healthcare system fit for the future.
In his book, the head of the clinic, Jochen A. Werner, warns that it is “high time to convert our traditional, analogous, sometimes even anachronistic system into modern structures”. He calls for a “reset of the entire healthcare system”, i.e. a reset to the initial state – and then a restart.
What is your experience with our healthcare system? What have you experienced in clinics and medical practices? What are you upset about? And what would you like to say to Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD)? Write us! You can send your experiences to email@example.com.