Munich/Hof (dpa/lby) - In the first half of 2022, almost six percent of the shifts of emergency doctors in Bavaria remained vacant. This was announced by the Bavarian Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KVB) at the request of the German Press Agency. However, there is no reason for uncertainty among the population. "Should rosters of emergency doctor locations actually show a gap, the emergency medical care of the people on site is still guaranteed," said a KVB spokesman.
If necessary, the nearest available emergency doctor or rescue helicopter is alerted by the respective control center. However, the manager of the integrated control center in Hochfranken in Hof, Markus Hannweber, noted that the journey from a neighboring location could also take longer. "That can be a problem in life-threatening cases." In addition, there would simply be one less emergency doctor, which would lead to shortages more quickly if there were several calls.
The head of the control center notices that the problem is increasing in rural areas in particular. The Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians also wrote in January that it was becoming increasingly difficult to fill shifts - but it was important not to generalize about an "urban-rural gap". "Especially in particularly rural areas, it is often the contract doctors who, in addition to running their practice, support the emergency medical service with outstanding commitment."
The KVB is waiting for a study commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior. "We hope that this will ideally also reveal patterns independent of the size of the community." For historical reasons, the density of emergency doctor locations varies greatly - even if the region has approximately the same population. "Often the focus is solely on the question of whether an existing emergency doctor location is occupied, without considering the question of need for this location. This is another reason why the emergency doctor study mentioned is of great importance."
The Bavarian Ministry of the Interior is working on various projects to relieve the emergency doctors. For example, Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) presented a new rescue vehicle for less serious operations as part of a pilot project in the spring. In addition, there should be an emergency register in the future, and “tele-emergency doctors” could provide remote support during operations.