Älterer Arzt an seinem Schreibtisch

The paradox of the doctor shortage in Germany: Why care is suffering despite a high density of physicians

A paradoxical picture is emerging in Germany: the number of doctors has never been higher and per capita care has also reached a record level. Nevertheless, patients are complaining about a lack of care in many places. Long waiting times for appointments and freezes on admissions to surgeries are casting doubt on the healthcare system.

 

Alarming warnings from politicians

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is focusing on this discrepancy between the seemingly sufficient density of doctors and the noticeable supply problems. He warns of an impending shortage of GPs and provides an alarming insight into the underlying problem: in the last ten years, 50,000 fewer doctors than necessary have been trained in Germany. This figure is based on forecasts of population growth and healthcare needs and makes it clear that the current training capacity is not sufficient to meet future demand.

 

The time bomb of the doctor shortage is ticking

Lauterbach's warnings highlight the urgency of the problem. The current shortage of training places will only really make itself felt in the coming years. A study by the Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance Physicians predicts a further deterioration by the mid-2030s. One in four doctors is already over the age of 60, which means an imminent wave of retirements.

 

Causes and effects of the shortage of doctors

Markus Beier, Federal Chairman of the Association of General Practitioners, emphasizes the changing areas of responsibility and the high bureaucratic burden that is increasingly weighing on doctors. As a result, many doctors are deciding not to open their own practice. The Association of General Practitioners in Germany is also critical of politicians, who have been doing too little to combat the shortage of doctors for years.

 

Operationsteam in einem weißen Krankenhausgang von hinten

Regional inequalities and burdens in hospitals

The uneven distribution of doctors contributes to the problem, with structurally weaker regions being particularly affected. The situation in hospitals is also critical, with one reason being an insufficient increase in the volume of working hours despite the rising number of doctors.

 

Challenges in training and working conditions

Lower Saxony has invested in the training of medical students in recent years, most recently with the expansion of the University of Oldenburg. Despite these efforts and a total of three faculties, the ratio of medical students to inhabitants in Lower Saxony remains challenging, with statistically 1272 inhabitants per medical student, compared to Hamburg, which only has a ratio of 388 inhabitants per medical student. The costs of studying medicine are considerable and, according to the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science, amount to an average of 250,000 euros over the entire duration of studies. In addition, the new generation of doctors prefers a good work-life balance, which makes it more difficult to recruit sufficient successors. To make the profession of doctor more attractive, the Federal Minister wants to create incentives by planning to cut budgets in order to better remunerate extra work.

Links ein gesundes Gericht mit Zucchini, Möhren, Brokkoli und Quinoa, rechts eine Sportgruppe im Park

Caring for your own health and reducing the burden on the healthcare system: a holistic perspective

In times when the healthcare system is facing challenges and waiting rooms are overcrowded, it is more important than ever that we take proactive measures to not only promote our own health, but also help reduce the burden on doctors and hospitals.

A conscious lifestyle is key to this. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and sufficient sleep are fundamental steps to strengthen our immune system and prevent illness. By taking care of our physical and mental health, we can not only improve our personal well-being, but also help to reduce the number of people requiring medical attention.

 

SalinoVatis Bambus vor einem Fenster, daneben ein älterer Mann, der entspannt ein Buch liest

Innovative solutions for health promotion

One example of an innovative solution that both supports our health and reduces the burden on the healthcare system is SalinoVatis. This mini-saline offers an easy way to promote respiratory health from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

SalinoVatis uses stimulating salt air to support the respiratory tract and promote circulation. The anti-inflammatory effect of the salt can help to relieve respiratory symptoms and improve lung health. In addition, the increased humidity ensures a pleasant indoor climate and contributes to general relaxation.

 

Prevention out of love for yourself and your neighbor

By taking care of our own health and dealing with it consciously, as well as using non-medical everyday helpers such as SalinoVatis, we can not only promote our own health, but also contribute in solidarity to keeping waiting rooms free for more urgent cases and relieving the burden on the healthcare system.

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