The Virchow Association of practicing doctors has threatened even longer practice closures for the new year if there is no rapprochement with Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.

After the three-day protest this week, doctors would be “there for their patients as usual” from January 2nd, chairman Dirk Heinrich told the “Rheinische Post”. “If there is no movement at the summit with the minister on January 9th, the practices will then close for a whole week. We reserve the right to do that.”

Overload and too much bureaucracy

Medical associations had called for practices to be closed nationwide in protest between the years. The action, which is still planned today, is part of the “Praxis in Not” campaign. One of the demands is to put an end to “budgets” with maximum fees for all specialist groups.

In addition, a repealed regulation with extra fees for new patients in practices should be reintroduced. There are also complaints about overwork and too much bureaucracy. The Virchowbund expected tens of thousands of practices to be closed. They were called upon to provide representation in emergencies.

Lauterbach: Demands for more money rejected

Association boss Heinrich accused Lauterbach of preferring to start “debates of envy” “rather than remedy the injustices in the current remuneration system”. “Public doctors don’t earn as much as the minister suggests,” he said.

In view of the protests, the health minister promised better working conditions, but rejected demands for more money. “Apart from Switzerland, of course, nowhere else in Europe does the practice earn as well as in Germany,” said the SPD politician on ZDF.

“I don’t see any scope for fee increases.” Practices need less bureaucracy and money needs to be distributed more fairly. The specific focus for the “crisis summit” in January is better conditions, especially for general practitioners.