Hamburg's statutory health insurance physicians plan to hold a protest day next Wednesday against Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach's (SPD) austerity plans. The Hamburg Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KVH) called on its members “including practice teams” to attend a protest event and further training that day, as stated on the KVH website on Monday. The practices would then remain closed. Specifically, it is about Lauterbach's planned elimination of an extra fee for new patients. First, the NDR had reported about it.
The representative assembly of the Hamburg contract doctors and psychotherapists had already sharply criticized the Federal Minister's plans at a special meeting a good two weeks ago and announced protest actions. The withdrawal of regulations from the Appointment Service and Supply Act is inevitably accompanied by a deterioration in patient care, it said.
"Many patients will have to wait longer for appointments from January 1, 2023, practices will impose freezes on admissions and keep waiting lists," explained the chairman of the meeting, Dirk Heinrich.
Also on Monday, the German Hospital Society (DKG) reiterated its call for inflation compensation. 96 percent of the clinics could no longer cover their costs from current income, said the chairman Gerald Gass on Monday in Hamburg. The increased energy costs alone would bring clinics to the brink of insolvency.
An average hospital consumes five million cubic meters of gas per year, as much as around 3,000 single-family homes. In the coming year, such a clinic would have to pay more than six million euros more for gas and electricity. Extrapolated to all German hospitals, according to the DKG, that would be a deficit of around four billion euros.
Society fears that hospitals could go bankrupt. The Hamburg clinics are also affected by the cost increases, said the chairman of the Hamburg Hospital Society, Joachim Gemmel. He could not say whether one of the 30 or so houses in Hamburg was already threatened with insolvency.
Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach announced an aid package at the beginning of September. "In this energy and inflation crisis, we will not let our hospitals down and will get them through the fall and winter," said the SPD politician in the budget debate in the Bundestag.