Too few doctors in the public health service

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Public health service suffers from a shortage of doctors

There is a shortage of doctors in the public health service. This was pointed out by the chair of the association of the Federal Association of Doctors of the Public Health Service (BVÖGD), Ute Teichert-Barthel, at yesterday's 62nd Scientific Congress of the BVÖGD.

In addition to the outpatient and inpatient facilities, the public health service is the third pillar of the health service and needs to be adequately equipped with medical officers, emphasized Teichert-Barthel in her welcoming speech at this year's BVÖGD Association Congress in Erfurt. "Due to the poor tariff situation in the ÖGD, we lack numerous doctors and other specialist staff," said the critics of the association's chairmen.

200 medical positions in the public health service not filled The public health service (ÖGD) includes, for example, the health offices and institutions such as the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) , the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) or the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The importance of these institutions for the health of the population is hardly noticeable in everyday life, but in a crisis situation such as the swine flu in 2009 or the EHEC epidemic last year, the ÖGD institutions quickly become the focus of public interest and usually assume a key function in crisis management. But this is only possible with adequate personnel, which, according to Ute Teichert-Barthel, is currently not guaranteed. According to the expert, "at the last count last year around 200 public medical positions across Germany were vacant", with the remuneration being one of the main reasons for this.

Bad tariff situation Cause of the lack of doctors in the ÖGD The "bad tariff situation of doctors in the public health service" is the main reason for the insufficient staffing and the lack of young people in the ÖGD, emphasized the head of the association in her speech at the opening event of the 62nd Scientific Congress of the BVÖGD and of the Federal Association of Dentists of the Public Health Service (BZÖG). Because "Specialists who want to switch from the clinic to a health department will be reset to about the salary level of a young professional," which can mean a loss of more than 1,000 euros per month, "Teichert-Barthel continues . The problem was supposed to be remedied in the course of the collective bargaining for the municipal public health service that had been going on since autumn 2010, but so far no acceptable offer has been submitted by the other side, the association chairperson of the BVÖGD complained. The "bigger the wage gap, the less doctors decide to work in the public health service," emphasized the expert, adding that the association is currently also considering warning strikes.

Prevention and hospital hygiene as future focus areas In her speech, the association chairperson of the BVÖGD also addressed two current subject areas in which, in her opinion, the public health service is of major importance. On the one hand, this is the Federal Government's development of a broad-based prevention strategy, in which, according to Teichert-Barthel, the public health service should urgently be involved. According to the head of the association, the medical officers have access to a large number of institutions, such as kindergartens or schools, and are pursuing a goal for society as a whole, while in outpatient or inpatient care the focus is more on the needs of the individual patient. The other aspect in which Teichert-Barthel hopes for greater involvement of the ÖGD is the topic of hospital hygiene. So it is to be welcomed that some politicians call for specific regulations regarding the number of hospital hygienists, the hygiene officers and the hygiene specialists per number of beds. However, at the same time, the staff at the ÖGD would have to be increased, "because the infection control of clinics, old people's homes and doctor's offices lies with the health authorities," emphasized Teichert-Barthel. (fp)

Also read:
FDP demands self-payment obligation in the event of a shortage of doctors
Health insurance companies: There is no shortage of doctors

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