Almost ten percent of hospital staff absent due to sickness rates

Mon 19th Dec, 2022

Photo by Hush Naidoo JadeHigh staff absenteeism, many patients with respiratory diseases and supply bottlenecks for medicines are currently causing problems for hospitals. "We are now likely to have staff absences of nine to ten percent, which means that almost one in ten employees is ill," Gerald Gaß, CEO of the German Hospital Federation (DKG), told the German Press Agency.

That is 30 to 40 percent more absenteeism than usual at this time of year.

Many employees are affected by infectious diseases, which also cause high patient numbers. In addition to Corona, influenza and RS viruses are currently causing many illnesses among children throughout the country.

The staffing situation is thin anyway, Gaß said. "This means that beds are currently blocked in a whole series of hospitals or entire wards have to be deregistered. We can't treat when we fall short of staffing limits."

Children's hospitals are particularly affected by this, he said, because many nurses with additional training work there. "It's not so easy to put staff from an adult ward on the pediatric ward."

There is no easy solution in this situation, he said. "One adjusting screw would be to relieve the bureaucracy and the documentation obligations. That's where the health minister should go again and give the hospitals leeway," Gaß said. "It should be said consistently now that nurses only have to document the most necessary things that are important for patient treatment and can otherwise concentrate on nursing care."

The DKG chief also spoke out in favor of suspending the lower staffing limits. "In such a situation, it is appropriate to give hospitals back the responsibility to decide where they can perhaps organize good care even with slightly fewer staff."

Hospitals and doctors' offices are also complaining about shortages of a number of medications. The president of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, therefore called on the population to help each other with their medicine cabinets. "Now only solidarity helps. Those who are healthy must give medicine in stock to those who are sick. We need something like flea markets for medicines in the neighborhood," he told the "Tagesspiegel".

The Federal Association of German Pharmacists (ABDA) complained about unnecessary bureaucracy. "An individually prepared fever juice in the pharmacy costs more, of course, and the health insurance companies do not reimburse that if it is not prescribed on the prescription.

But the doctor cannot know that there will be no fever juice in the pharmacy," Gabriele Overwiening told the German Press Agency. Thus a completely unnecessary bureaucracy arises because of the health insurance companies.

In her opinion, it would make sense for pharmacies to be able to decide when to produce the remedy themselves. Another problem is the additional time required, Overwiening said. After all, "We're not allowed to manufacture it in advance either."

Photo by Hush Naidoo Jade


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