Practice strikes: Karl Lauterbach finds doctors’ demands for more money “unfounded”

Practice strikes: Karl Lauterbach finds doctors’ demands for more money “unfounded”

Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) shows no understanding for doctors’ demands for more money. “I don’t think the demand for more money is justified,” he told im today’s journal update of ZDF. “Apart from Switzerland, of course, nowhere in Europe do practices earn as well as in Germany.” He sees no scope for fee increases and the strike is incomprehensible.

There is a “huge wave of illness” in the population, warned Lauterbach. “The doctors’ demands for more money are also known. The strike doesn’t bring anything forward at all.”

The CEO of the umbrella association of statutory health insurance companies, Doris Pfeiffer, made a similar statement. Pfeiffer told the editorial network Germany (RND) that the gross net income of practicing doctors has risen on average nationwide in recent years. “It must also be made clear: What doctors or pharmacists want to get more, the supermarket cashier and the truck driver have to finance with their health insurance contributions,” said Pfeiffer. They also suffered from the increased prices.

Pfeiffer also opposed further financial aid from the state for the clinics. “It cannot be the case that those paying contributions are pumping additional money into a hospital system in which 30 to 40 percent of the beds are permanently empty,” she said. It makes no sense to support clinics now that no one will ultimately need to provide good patient care. “The principle of funding with a watering can must come to an end. There is also enough money in the system.” The hospital landscape is currently undergoing reform; a new system of quality levels is intended to improve diagnostics and therapy and encourage poorly performing hospitals to merge.

Medical associations had called for family doctor and specialist practices to be closed nationwide between the years. The action, planned until Friday, is part of the Praxis in Not campaign, which is supported by more than 20 associations. The Virchow Association of resident doctors was unable to state the number of practices involved on Wednesday because the strike was organized decentrally. However, a spokeswoman said that tens of thousands of practices are expected to be closed nationwide.

The practices were also asked to inform their patients about the closure, to refer them to the medical on-call service and to arrange for a replacement in emergencies. In previous years, however, many practices remained closed between Christmas and the New Year – due to holidays.

Lauterbach wants to meet with the family doctors at a crisis summit in January to discuss the complained about overload and bureaucracy in the practices. “The practices need better working conditions, need less bureaucracy. The money also needs to be distributed more fairly,” he said on ZDF. “But simply pouring more money into a system like in the past – which doesn’t really work well – is a solution we’ve simply used too often. It won’t be the focus.”

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