The report, commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation at the beginning of this year & published yesterday, suggests that the number of hospitals in Germany should be reduced from the current 1400 to less than 600. This would enable the remaining hospitals to have better facilities and more staff.
The researchers of the study, from the Berlin Institute for Health and Social Research, found that majority of the smaller clinics in Germany often lack the essential equipment & experience to properly deal with life-threatening emergencies such as strokes and heart attacks.
The report stated that only clinics which had larger departments & more patients have enough experience for safe treatment, pointing out that complications & deaths could be avoided by pooling doctors & nurses in fewer hospitals.
Bertelsmann project manager, Jan Bocken wrote that not only would this enable the staff to access better-quality medical equipment, but it would also allow the hospitals to overcome staffing shortages. There is insufficient staff to maintain the number of hospitals.
Since a long time, a reduction in the total number of hospitals in Germany has been up for discussion. Calls to cut additional clinics which are mostly unnecessary are usually countered by calls to keep rural areas within easy access of hospitals. Certainly, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn recently stressed that a local hospital is like a home for many citizens who want to have easily-accessible care in the case of medical emergencies.
But, the financial situation of many smaller hospitals in Germany is dangerous. According to the most recent figures from the German Hospital Association, 1/3rd clinic in 2017 was in the danger zone. Because of this, German health insurance funds have vowed to increase funding for small & rural hospitals. In the coming year, 120 hospitals in Germany will be receiving cash injections of 400 euros each, totaling some 48 million euros.