Survey: Every third person at the doctor is not well cared for

Survey: Every third person at the doctor is not well cared for

In a representative survey study, patients complained that the doctor's office hours were too short

Patients often spend more time in the waiting room at the doctor than during the examination. Patients estimate that the average consultation time is eleven minutes, reports “Welt am Sonntag”, referring to the results of a representative survey by the market research company GfK. It is known from previous studies that on average, statutory health insurers wait almost half an hour at the doctor for their treatment. The waiting time is therefore significantly longer than the duration of treatment.

The GfK survey also comes to the conclusion that many patients do not feel well looked after by the doctor. According to “Welt am Sonntag”, almost 30 percent of those questioned believed that their doctor did not take enough time for them. This criticism was expressed primarily by older and single people and tended to be more women than men. In relation to the waiting time of an average of 27 minutes, which, according to a study commissioned by the Federal Association of the Federal Health Insurance Association (Bundesverband BKK), patients with statutory health insurance have to put up with in 2011, the average treatment time of eleven minutes seems quite short. In addition, around 20 percent of those surveyed in the GfK survey assumed that their doctor had only taken five minutes for their last visit.

A number of patients complain that the consultation hours are too short. Around a fifth of the patients stated that their last consultation hour lasted at least 15 minutes. However, doctors had significantly less time for most of the 1,000 patients surveyed. Health economist Peter Oberender told the “Welt” that the lack of time for doctors or the short consultation hours were due to wrong incentives. The doctors would often keep the proportion of the interview as short as possible due to the flat-rate remuneration that the health insurers allow them per patient. Apparently, the use of devices or other treatment methods, which can be billed separately to the health insurance companies, is preferred.

Bottle of incentives in the doctors' remuneration system A similar criticism as the health economist Oberender expressed in an interview with the newspaper, Ferdinand Gerlach, Chairman of the Health Advisory Council. Gerlach explained that there were errors in the system, because doctors are ultimately forced "to make as many patients as possible in order to generate sales and profits." rewarded. ”Thereby, a focus should also be on prevention and early detection, Gerlach continues.

More doctors needed for longer consultation hours If doctors should spend significantly more time on their patients, this also raises the question of the extent to which the capacities are sufficient to meet this requirement. There are already complaints about a shortage of doctors in some regions of Germany. The existing practices are overcrowded and waiting times are increasing. Ultimately, an increase in the number of doctors would be required to ensure the length of the consultation hours desired by the patients. (fp)

Also read:
Doctor's appointments: health insurance patients are disadvantaged
Health insurance patients wait a long time for a specialist appointment
Hardly any useful additional services at the doctor

Image: Gerd Altmann /

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