Will there no longer be country doctors in Germany by 2025?
A serious shortage of doctors is said to exist in rural regions of Germany in just 15 years. The majority of the currently practicing country doctors will then be retired. The rural areas are not very attractive for new young doctors, not least because of the dramatic rural exodus of the population in many regions. At least that is what the Fritz Beske Institute for Health System Research in Kiel claims, relying on its own evaluations.
The need for medical care will increase. In the future there will no longer be a family doctor near the place of residence in the country. This resulted in an analysis of the medical and nursing care of Schleswig-Holstein by the Fritz Beske Institute for Health Systems Research in Kiel (IGSF). However, the need for primary care will increase at the same time, the report says. The dramatic rural exodus and the decline in population after 2025 in the northernmost state could lead to the establishment of an establishment in some rural areas being economically risky for doctors. It is therefore to be expected that due to the decrease in the total population of Schleswig-Holstein, the medical practices will also become empty. However, it is expected that the need for medical care will not decrease. The experts from the 20 associations of doctors, health professionals, health insurers, municipalities and patients who worked on the analysis determined that the population had remained constant at 2.8 million until then.
Future-proof model for medical care proposed According to the analysis, 576 of the 1929 general practitioners who currently care for the population would be on the verge of retirement. 67 percent of them are already over 50 years old. In Schleswig-Holstein, this means that for the next twelve years, 1,000 new doctors will be sought for general practice, the authors report. The IGSF urgently recommends that the municipalities have greater scope for action and decision-making when planning requirements. In cooperation with the neighboring municipalities, the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians and medical networks, these should then determine suitable locations for so-called focus practices. The key practices will then be open 24 hours a year, all year round. Family and specialist care should be offered under one roof. In addition, the IGSF recommends that outpatient care and rehabilitation as well as associated advisors should also be located there.
Countering the shortage of supplies with doctors and pharmacists buses The report also contains a proposal to strengthen the competencies of the committees of municipalities so that they can intervene better in the reality of care. A case manager could take care of the patients and guide them through the health system.
If even the distance to the main practice is too great, doctor and pharmacist buses could be used in the country. Such a pilot project should possibly start in the district of Dithmarschen. However, doctors point out that this jeopardizes the doctor-patient relationship and that the doctor also wastes a lot of time traveling back and forth in which patients could be treated.
Shortage of doctors in Thuringia In the state of Thuringia, more doctors are missing than previously thought. According to an evaluation by the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KV) in 2011, 234 general practitioners and 47 specialists are missing in Thuringia. Although the population has been declining for years, the proportion of pensioners is growing steadily. First and foremost, specialists in the fields of skin, nerve, eye and ear, nose and throat (ENT) are sought. In November 2010, the doctors' association calculated an additional need for a total of 136 doctors. The corrected figures come about because a new procedure for the survey of medical needs has been used. This calculation method also takes into account the age distribution and the sick leave of the population. Now this data is included in the needs analysis, explained a spokesman for the KV. (ag)
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