Federal Minister of Health: Karl Lauterbach presents reform for emergency care

Federal Minister of Health: Karl Lauterbach presents reform for emergency care

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is striving for a fundamental reform of the medical system Emergency care at. The goals are to improve the accessibility of doctors outside of normal office hours and to provide concrete guidelines for telemedicine services and home visits, he said Berlin. The minister also expects the plans to provide better patient control and closer cooperation between medical on-call services and hospitals. The law is scheduled to come into force in one year.

“In an emergency, patients should be treated where they can receive the quickest and best care. That doesn’t always have to be the hospital,” said Lauterbach. In many cases, the emergency medical service makes much more sense. A visit to the family doctor’s office the next day is often enough.

Lauterbach pointed out that the emergency centers of the clinics are often overcrowded – even with patients who do not need to be cared for in the hospital. In order to better manage patients, Lauterbach says the emergency numbers for the ambulance service (112) and statutory health insurance physicians (116 117) should be networked with one another. Integrated emergency centers with a central initial assessment center are also to be set up at hospitals nationwide and outpatient structures are to be strengthened.

Overload and long waiting times

Doctors and health politicians have been criticizing one for years Mismanagement of patient care in emergencies. The emergency departments in many hospitals complain about being overloaded. Patients, on the other hand, complain about extremely long waiting times. The problem from the perspective of many emergency facilities: Many patients also use the emergency number 112 for minor and chronic illnesses or if they are lonely.

The number of emergency patients in Germany has recently increased significantly: from 24.9 million in 2009 to 27.8 million ten years later. The number of emergency patients treated by hospitals alone rose from 14.9 million in 2009 to 19.1 million in 2019 – an increase of 28 percent. Medical facilities complain that a third of patients come to emergency rooms with minor illnesses and could just as easily be treated by family doctors or by the emergency service of general practitioners.

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