While the Omicron variant is raging through Europe, the German government is… closing hospitals. Well, that should help generate the needed scare headlines about the “shortage of hospital beds due to Corona”.
Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this article from the German-language service of RT:
Corona crisis? — In Germany 34 hospitals will be closed
In the middle of the Corona crisis, 34 hospitals in Germany are being closed. This emerges from the final report of the RWI Institute for Economic Research. It concerns both complete closings and conversion projects.
With the money from the first hospital structure fund (KHSF), 34 hospitals and hospital locations have been or will be closed in the near future. This includes both complete closings, in which a location completely falls out of the supply network, as well as concentration projects and conversions. The Ärzteblatt reported on it earlier.
In addition, 36 departments were closed at a further 24 locations, almost half of which were gynecological or obstetrical facilities. This emerges from the final report of the RWI Institute for Economic Research. The RWI presented the report on the structural change brought about by the Hospital Structure Fund on July 19, 2021.
With the first hospital structure fund for 2016 to 2018, the federal government provided the federal states with funds of up to €500 million, with which the federal states can promote the reduction of so-called “overcapacities”, as well as the so-called concentration of inpatient care offers and of non-acute inpatient local care facilities. However, this would only be possible provided that the states raise the same amount as the federal government and do not reduce their investment subsidies.
According to the report, fewer hospitals tended to be closed in federal states with a high “hospital density” than in those with a low hospital density. In states with a high “bed density”, on the other hand, more beds had tended to be reduced, but the relationship in this case was not statistically significant. A total of 62 percent of the funding applications for such measures were approved and 96 percent of the funds intended for them were called up. 91 percent of the funding went to projects to concentrate inpatient care offers, which also include pure closings and conversions. As part of the funded projects, 3,099 beds have now been reduced across Germany. According to the report, non-profit hospitals were particularly affected by the funding projects. In the report, the federal government comes to the conclusion:
“The final report of the accompanying evaluation of the RWI (Leibniz Institute for Economic Research) makes it clear that the legislative purpose pursued with the KHSF, to improve the supply structures by means of concentration effects and the reduction of reserve expenses, has been achieved in principle.”
One of the most questionable decisions affected by these hospital closings this year is the closure of the lung specialist clinic at the research center Borstel near Hamburg, which will be finally closed at the end of the year. The closure took place for “economic reasons”. The board of trustees justified its decision in the summer with “considerable economic losses” and because talks with potential operators were unsuccessful. The future of the 80-bed clinic, in which 2,800 inpatients and 4,500 outpatients were treated every year, had been discussed since the summer. In addition to the proximity of larger clinics in cities such as Hamburg, the main problem was allegedly primarily economic: the need for staff increasingly had to be covered by freelancers, which led to high placement costs.
A follow-up from the translator:
Tweet from Karl Lauterbach, German Minister of Unhealth: “Everyone knows that we should close at least every third, actually every second, clinic in Germany. Then we would have enough staff for other clinics, lower costs, better quality, and not so much superfluity. Countries and cities are blocking.”