Criticism: Health insurance patients wait even longer for doctor’s appointments

Those who are not privately insured often have to wait a long time for a doctor’s appointment in Germany, experts say. “Patients are still often put off. In some cases, the waiting time is 30 days or more,” said the board of directors of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, on Tuesday Rheinische Post.

Since the so-called new patient regulation was abolished in January, the situation has worsened. It’s faster for private patients, said Brysch. As a result of this rule, doctors received more money for years when they admitted new patients. Federal Minister of Health Lauterbach (SPD) abolished this regulation – even if there were protests against this decision. Associations of statutory health insurance physicians and resident doctors had spoken out against the abolition of the new patient regulation. For the practices, the step was associated with financial losses.

The patient advocates criticized that the appointment service points that were created as a replacement for the new patient regulation would not have improved the situation. Although the federal government recently increased the extra remuneration for medical practices that patients receive through the appointment service points, the effect remains to be seen.

Brysch also demands that the appointment service points also arrange home visits for patients with health insurance in the future. The targeted placement of home visits has not been planned so far, that urgently needs to change. “People in need of care, seriously ill and immobile are at risk of being left behind. They are bedridden or unable to go to the practice and need the doctor at home,” criticized Brysch.

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