The hospital staff have shown that they have money for investments

health care

The hospital staff have shown that they have money for investments

Hospital staff demonstrated in front of the Berlin House of Representatives on Monday.

Photo: dpa

Health Senator Gote does not consider the 150 million euros foreseen by the Senate sufficient. The coalition wants to complete it all.

Berlin. On Monday morning, several hundred employees of Berlin clinics, as well as representatives of the medical professions and health insurance companies demonstrated with banners and whistles in front of the Berlin House of Representatives. As the health committee met on the third floor and learned of the Charité’s anti-violence clinic, it demanded more money from Berlin politicians for investments in hospital buildings and large-scale equipment.

Employees feel the poor condition of the buildings and the lack of money in their daily life. Above all, there is a lack of funds for small investments, printers for occupational therapy or recording devices for psychotherapy, said Katrin Kircher, who works as an occupational therapist at the Jewish hospital. Also, there is no money to set up showers and toilets in the rooms. The main building tunnel had been closed. “Now we have to push patients in wheelchairs in the rain.” Jarmila Waschke of the human resources department at DRK clinics in Westend reported that poor structural conditions and small, unattractive offices are definitely an obstacle to the recruitment of specialists. “People don’t say it that way, but they think it.” Unlike previous hospital demonstrations, this time almost no employees of the Vivantes and Charité state hospitals had gathered. The Verdi union had canceled its participation.

On the contrary, employees of non-profit organizations dominated. The evangelical Johannesstift had decorated several dozen nursing students and nurses with green hats and jackets. Council spokesman Andreas Mörsberger made it clear that in non-municipal clinics they are annoyed that the Senate prefers state suppliers. While others would have had to wait for funding, Vivantes would have received an equity grant from the Senate and compensation for Corona period losses. He illustrated his impression with plans for a new nursing school at Johannesstift to expand the number of trainees. nursing from 270 to 550.

The state needs 10.5 million euros for this, and the money has been requested for two years. “We could start building immediately, it would be finished in two years,” Mörsberger said. The planned joint nursing school of Charité and Vivantes, on the other hand, does not even have a construction site. In Spandau, the planners encountered numerous difficulties. If a breakthrough is not successful this year, the site of Tempelhof’s Wenckebach hospital, currently undergoing closure, will be used as a venue, according to coalition circles.

The CDU parliamentary group and state president was the only state politician who n protesters spoke. “The Senate is endangering the health care of Berliners due to a lack of funds for free and non-profit hospitals,” said the CDU leader and promised to work in parliament for further hospital investments.

Critics are particularly annoyed that the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party raised different expectations in the coalition negotiations with the announcement that hospitals would be a priority during the legislature. The flagship has been reduced to a rowboat, according to Marc Schreiner, head of the Berlin Hospital Society. Instead of the necessary 350 million euros a year, there are only around 150 million.

Health Senator Ulrike Gote (Verdi) would have liked to join the demonstrators. Shortly before the start of the protest in front of the Prussian state parliament, she made it clear to the health committee of the House of Representatives to share the assessment of clinics, health insurance companies and medical staff. “Needs-based financing” of hospital investment is “obviously a matter for federal states,” Gote said. “Federal states are not fully meeting their obligations,” he admitted. There is a lot of pent-up demand in Berlin for investments in buildings, medical technology and digitalization.

The senator praised the lump sum system for hospitals used in Berlin, which saves red tape and saves money for several years. “But a modern funding program isn’t enough if the financial volume behind it isn’t enough,” Gote said. But in the universities, of which Gote is also a senator, things are not going well.

The Green politician referred to increased efforts by the Senate. In 2018/19 there was a significant increase in hospital investments, in 2020 the total was 112 million euros. In addition, there would be funds to secure emergency care and individual investment grants from the Siwa state special fund.

In the draft budget for 2022/23 currently under discussion in the Chamber of Deputies, 148 or 155 million euros are allocated for hospitals. Gote spoke of a “high level of funding” which “does not meet all expectations”. “We recognize the need for investment and will continue to work to ensure that this need is met,” the senator said. It is important to work out a plan together for the next few years. “who comes to major investment funds”. The future plan for hospitals, which the coalition of SPD, Greens, and the Left Party agreed in the coalition agreement, includes an increase. “We will implement it,” the senator said. “What is now in the budget is not enough. But what is available is what has been possible within the financial framework of the general health administration budget. Gote has replied to MPs: “You decide on the budget.” Coalition health politicians announced the activities.

From a technical point of view, the demands of the demonstrators are justified, said Bettina König, deputy leader of the SPD. Financial politicians are influenced to raise the money for hospitals. His left-wing colleague, Tobias Schulze, announced that the coalition would “up the ante”. There is perhaps talk of an additional 30 million euros per year. He also advised hospitals to apply for money from the country’s crown reserve to offset losses from the pandemic period. Catherina Pieroth (Verdi) announced that there would be investment funds for the energy renovation of the “Green Hospital Program”.

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