Corona focus hospitals: "Need a revolution in healthcare"

Masks, vaccination and isolation obligation - will the dispute over Corona continue in the third pandemic winter? What does that do to the particularly affected hospitals? At "Hard but fair", Health Minister Lauterbach, among others, discusses how the clinics can get healthy again.

Corona focus hospitals: "Need a revolution in healthcare"

Masks, vaccination and isolation obligation - will the dispute over Corona continue in the third pandemic winter? What does that do to the particularly affected hospitals? At "Hard but fair", Health Minister Lauterbach, among others, discusses how the clinics can get healthy again.

The hospitals could face another hard winter. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach fears that. The reason: a new corona variant that, according to experts, could reach Germany in winter. According to Lauterbach, it is more contagious than all other variants, but less deadly. That is why he advocates maintaining the mask requirement in the interior.

The Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetschek sees things differently. In the ARD program "Hart aber fair" he explains that this regulation is a matter for the federal states. It was agreed that the decision would be "adapted to the situation". This applies both to the mask requirement in restaurants and to the organization of Christmas markets in December. This regulation has already proven its worth when hosting the Munich Oktoberfest.

There are currently very different opinions among experts on the assessment of the corona situation. Some of them fear a significant increase in values ​​from public viewing events during the World Cup, which starts on November 20, while others believe that the end of the corona pandemic has now been reached. You're talking about an epidemic. They include virologist Christian Drosten or the head of the Standing Vaccination Commission, Thomas Mertens.

Nevertheless, the nurse and union official Lisa Schlagheck fears that the hospitals will be overburdened in winter - but for a different reason. "The assumption that we are overburdened because of the Corona wave is wrong. In my opinion, we are overburdened because of the economization in the health care system and because of the shortage of staff. Corona is then the icing on the cake that weighs us down," she says.

In fact, in many emergency departments, the overloading of nursing staff is a problem that can be dangerous. "I would avoid a hospital stay if possible," summarizes the nurse Schlagheck at the end of the show. She works as an emergency nurse at the University Hospital in Münster. There are numerous other hospitals in the region, but they have to close their emergency departments when they are overloaded. Schlagheck reports that this happens almost every day. Then the patients come to her and her colleagues.

Again and again, patients have to lie in the corridors to wait for their treatment, she describes the situation. After the initial treatment in Münster, they often have to be taken to other hospitals because there are no free beds for them in the clinic. It can happen that patients have to be transported to clinics for further treatment that are over a hundred kilometers away. Until recently, she had to work night shifts as the only nurse - in an emergency room that stretches over two floors.

At least in North Rhine-Westphalia, the situation in the emergency departments could soon change. The nurses went on strike for this - for 77 days. Nationwide, it could take a little longer, but here, too, Minister Lauterbach is fighting for change. That is also urgently needed, says his Bavarian colleague Holetschek: "We need a revolution in the healthcare system." This should come before the end of this legislative period.

On Wednesday, Lauterbach wants to present part of a law to the health committee that, among other things, is intended to abolish the flat rate per case. They were introduced 20 years ago. Case flat rates regulate how expensive hospital treatment can be. Lauterbach's goal: If there are too few nurses on the wards for certain care services, certain diseases can no longer be treated. "We carry out a lot of interventions on the back of the nursing staff that can be done on an outpatient basis or that don't have to be done at all," explains Lauterbach. For example, it is unnecessary for patients to be hospitalized for a knee reflection.

The new law already has a name: Hospital Care Relief Act. "This is a dramatic de-economization of the hospitals," says Lauterbach. The minister is certain that the law will help immediately. As soon as it was introduced, it would relieve the burden on nurses, and in the end there would be more trainees for nursing professions, and nurses would stay in the profession longer.

For nurse Schlagheck, the new law has a crucial flaw. "It only applies to the beds and the nursing areas," she complains. Transport service, cleaning staff, but also emergency stations are excluded from this, and it is not applied to midwives either. "That is not tolerable," says Schlagheck, who also complains that there are no sanctions for hospitals that do not relieve their staff. Lauterbach is initially relying on trust on this point and promises that the body of legislation should be improved.

Holetschek also criticizes the law. It's all taking too long for him. "We are heading towards a humanitarian catastrophe, also in long-term and elderly care; the central issue is to improve the working conditions of caregivers," he demands. But Schlagheck also has doubts that the law will make work easier for them - even if Lauterbach announces that the end of November could be the first to talk about the elimination of case flat rates. One thing is clear to Schlagheck: she can no longer imagine working as a nurse for her entire career. "I don't want to wait until I retire to make improvements," she says. Lisa Schlagheck turned thirty this year.

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