The planned merger of two hospitals in the Weilheim-Schongau district has been stopped for the time being. At a referendum on Sunday, they spoke according to the preliminary result, 67.2 percent of the more than 52,000 participants against a planned central clinic. According to the will of those responsible, the two houses in Weilheim and Schongau, which are supported by the district, should be closed and merged into a new hospital. However, the action alliance “Pro Hospital Schongau” opposed the decision and fought for a referendum on the issue. The rejection of the plans was clear on Sunday. Further plans for a merger must now rest for a year.
District Administrator Andrea Jochner-Weiss (CSU) said she was “deeply disappointed” by the outcome of the vote. To the Munich Mercury she said she was afraid that clinic staff could now leave because they no longer saw any prospects. Small hospitals are already struggling with the difficult economic situation and could face an even harder time in the future. The initiators of the decision, on the other hand, cheered and warned those responsible not to simply continue the plans for the central clinic in a year. After this period, the vote in a referendum is no longer binding. They fear for care close to home if there was only one clinic in the district.
Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) promoted the merger last week and said that the decision from Weilheim-Schongau was of interest to all of Bavaria. “We have to convince the citizens,” he said at an event organized by the Bavarian Hospital Society on Friday. When asked what would happen if the citizens rejected the central clinic, the minister did not have a conclusive answer either. The relevant bodies will be meeting this Monday.