Karl Lauterbach’s hospital reform: Are too many clinics damaging?
Larger clinics often have special wards, such as the Corona ward in the Darmstadt Clinic.
Image: Frank Röth
The reform plans of the Federal Minister of Health could lead to many village clinics closing – for the benefit of the patients. Because they are often better cared for in specialized centers.
IIn East Frisia, people have been fighting for their hospitals for years. Three small clinics in Emden, Norden and Aurich are to be converted into regional care centers – a new central clinic is to be built for this purpose, right in the middle between the three locations. To prevent this, many citizens have organized themselves on social media, collected signatures, demonstrated, given interviews and initiated two citizens’ initiatives.
You are not alone: Germans love their small, familiar local hospitals, which they can walk or take the bus to. There are more than 1,700 clinics in Germany, many of which can treat fewer than 100 inpatients. “What people don’t understand is that the hospital around the corner is not automatically the most suitable,” says Ferdinand Gerlach, who was chairman of the Federal Government’s Health Advisory Council until the end of January. “In some emergencies, a thirty-minute drive to a specialized hospital is better than ten minutes to a non-specialized hospital.” The large hospital, vilified as a medicine factory, may not appear likeable, but it usually has better equipment and trained staff.