The Asklepios clinics in Hamburg are currently causing a stir. Health insurance patients are now being taken the butter off their bread. The aim is to mitigate the costs that have risen due to inflation. An idea for other hospitals too?

Asklepios has only been serving margarine instead of butter to patients in its Hamburg clinics since December. A savings potential of around 330,000 euros, as they say.

Butter, on the other hand, is only available for private patients. Instead of fixed case flat rates, completely different fees can be billed here.

The purchase price for yoghurt butter has more than doubled. “We have to start somewhere to compensate for the additional costs of 2.6 million euros caused by inflation,” an Asklepios spokesman is quoted as saying at “Bild”.de.

According to him, there have not been any patient complaints so far. With locations in Goslar, Bad Harzburg, Clausthal-Zellerfeld and Seesen, the hospital giant also operates several clinics in the Wolfenbüttel area. Will butter be dispensed with here too in the future and will patients be allowed to spread the cheaper margarine on their bread?

At the request of it says: “The changeover reported in the media only affects the seven Asklepios clinics in Hamburg, not the Asklepios facilities outside of Hamburg. That means: Nothing will change in any of the other Asklepios clinics for the time being.”

But what about the other hospitals that do not belong to Asklepios? Savings potential should be in demand in view of the general financially tense situation. We randomly surveyed the Helios Clinic in Salzgitter, which belongs to one of the largest hospital companies in Europe, as well as the Clinic in Braunschweig and the Municipal Clinic in Wolfenbüttel.

All three continue to serve butter to all patients. There are currently no plans to change this. Although margarine has been the standard at the Braunschweig Clinic for some time, butter is always available on request. “And this for both private and public health patients,” confirms Jörg Reinhardt, Head of the Business Division

Nevertheless, the hospitals deal with the topic of food. The Braunschweig Clinic says that the general financial situation of hospitals has not only recently forced them to act cost-consciously in all areas.

“Of course also in the food sector and here again strengthened by the recent significant rise in prices. In the food supply, various optimizations were carried out, especially in the procedural flow. The offer has been adapted to meet needs and, in line with the general trend, attempts have been made to reduce food waste. At the same time, the quality of the food should not be reduced,” says Reinhardt.

Through a constant comparison of purchase prices and constant dialogue with suppliers, one is looking for equivalent alternatives in order to offer all patients the same level of food.

“Not only because of the costs, but also in terms of resource conservation and sustainability, we have been working intensively on avoiding food returns for a long time. We control our range of food not only through individual ordering options, but also by observing what the patient leaves on the plate and thus drawing conclusions about the range of dishes and the quantity. It is our aim to continue to provide the patient with very good food,” concludes Reinhardt.

The Helios Klinikum in Salzgitter also pays attention to food waste. “Helios continues to work in a very patient-oriented and needs-based manner when it comes to catering. Of course, sustainability also plays a major role here, for example when it comes to avoiding excess quantities and thus waste/food waste.

However, there are no plans to reduce the range, quality or quantity,” says Sabina Korkmaz, press officer at the Helios Klinikum Salzgitter.

This article was written by Werner Heise

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The original of this article “Butter only for private patients – a new trend in hospitals?” comes from