According to one study, Germans generally value their health care system. But when it comes to details, there is a lot of criticism and fear. The lack of doctors is of particular concern to doctors and citizens.
The lack of doctors, long waiting times and denial of services due to cost are increasingly affecting people in Germany. However, 81 percent of them still rate the health care system positively, according to a survey by the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy for the 2022 Health Report of financial services provider MLP (Rhein-Neckar-Kreis) based in Wiesloch. Therefore, 89 percent of doctors themselves highly value health care.
According to a survey of more than 400 doctors and almost 1,100 citizens, the shortage of doctors is particularly difficult for doctors and citizens. Every third citizen is aware of the growing bottleneck, in East Germany even more than any other. The shortage of doctors is recorded by 52 percent of doctors themselves, compared to 41 percent in 2019. The tense staffing situation increases the workload of the remaining doctors. Nearly three-quarters of physicians in cities and regions with fewer than 100,000 residents reported working overtime, with family physicians more affected than specialists.
Problems of younger ages in clinics
At the same time, according to the study, the proportion of hospital doctors who would be eligible for an affiliate rose to 46 percent (2019: 37 percent). But changing from a clinic to a doctor’s office would only shift the disadvantage. Because the problem of young people worsens in clinics. Currently, 57 percent of hospital physicians report that there is a shortage of physicians in their own hospital, and nearly a quarter fear this in the coming years.
The situation with specialist staff is similarly dramatic; according to research, more than one in five medical offices does not have enough staff; a quarter have vacancies. There is also a shortage of nurses and other non-medical staff in hospitals: 89 percent of clinicians find it difficult or very difficult to fill a position. Nevertheless, 84 percent of doctors reject the entry of capital investors into the healthcare system; mainly because they fear that economic considerations might play too large a role.
Cost pressures are weighing on doctors
According to their own statements, doctors can no longer treat their patients from a purely therapeutic point of view. “Due to cost pressures in the health care system, most doctors see their freedom of therapy in question,” the report states. In the population, 38 percent (2019: 34 percent) believe they did not receive a specific treatment or medicine because of cost. 60 percent of doctors and almost as many citizens see the healthcare system on the way to two-tier medicine.
The outlook for the future is bleak for the population and the medical profession. Almost two-thirds of the surveyed doctors assume that health care will deteriorate in the next ten years; in the population, the value is one third.
Citizens dissatisfied with health policy
Most do not expect much from the federal government: A third of the population gives bad marks to its health care policy. Only 26 percent have a good impression, 41 percent do not give an opinion. Doctors were satisfied by 28 percent, not 39 percent. One in three doctors, and therefore significantly more than in previous studies, did not want to evaluate the health policy.
MLP CEO Uwe Schroeder-Wilberg called for a serious future coalition provision for traffic lights. He summed it up: “This includes an open discussion on the expenditure side, that is, on what the state health system should still be able to do in the future and how these services can be organized and efficiently provided.”