Criticism of the draft for care relief

16.11.2022 – In the Health Committee, experts discussed proposals to ease the burden of care in hospitals. There were various criticisms of the draft law.

Caregiver at the bedside of a patient

Nursing staff are overworked, no one doubts that. Your work is in any case physically as well as mentally stressful. If there is a regular shortage of staff, or if there are too few nursing staff at a clinic, the workload is often almost unbearable.

There is less agreement, however, on how to effectively relieve the burden on caregivers. The federal government has proposed a Hospital Care Relief Act that should help in the short term. In the hearing in the committee were thereby however by far not all in agreement.

What is planned?

A new instrument for personnel assessment is to be introduced. That is, hospitals should be measured how much work is pending and how many staff would be needed to do it.

The approach for this was developed by the German Hospital Association, the German Nursing Council and the Verdi union. From January 2023, the instrument is to be tested, on normal wards and in pediatrics.

Once the ideal staffing has been determined, the next step will be to issue binding specifications to which the hospitals must adhere. If they do not meet the specifications for ideal staffing, they are to be sanctioned starting in 2025.

What did the experts on the committee have to say about this idea??

"Deceptive maneuver towards the nursing staff"

The German Nursing Council is in favor of staffing levels in principle and was also involved in the development of the instrument. However, it criticized the fact that the draft law does not provide for nationwide introduction. The aim is to establish nursing staffing levels at all hospitals and in all wards throughout Germany. Otherwise, the bill is a "deception of caregivers".

Criticism of exemption regulations

The German Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine also called for the law to be implemented nationwide. The planned exceptions for some hospitals and the planned veto right of the Ministry of Finance raise doubts as to whether the federal government is really interested in implementing staffing levels.

Faster implementation demanded

Several experts warned that a quick solution was needed to relieve nursing staff immediately. For example, the Association of Nurses in Bavaria warned that colleagues could not wait another three years for the new regulation to be introduced.

The representative also criticized the approach of penalizing hospitals that did not hire enough nurses. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, this is sometimes not possible at all. Alternatively, he suggested a reward system.

Staffing levels not differentiated enough

The German National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds was generally critical of the idea of calculating an ideal staffing situation. Digital recording would not take into account the quality of care, they criticized. The instrument would merely "count heads," it would not differentiate by qualification. Therefore the result could not be meaningful at all.