The German healthcare system is treading a dark path, and many hospitals are threatened with closure.
Many hospitals in Germany are on the verge of closure as closures loom as rising energy costs and rising inflation choke the healthcare sector, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Sunday.
“Hospitals are in a very special situation. If we don’t react quickly and really drastically, there will be closures,” said Lauterbach ARD Channel.
Lauterbach will speak with Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner on Tuesday about how many forms of aid should be made available to the country’s hospitals. For the time being, however, Berlin is not planning any private health insurance funds for hospitals, as there are for the Bundeswehr.
“We cannot create separate special funds for each sphere,” emphasized Lauterbach.
The German news agency German Press Agency (DPA) reported on Tuesday that about 7,000 protesters took to the streets in more than 15 cities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, demanding that the government provide affordable living standards and stop supplying arms to Ukraine.
According to the DPA, 2,400 demonstrators in Schwerin and Neubrandenburg demanded peace talks on Ukraine and the suspension of sanctions against Russia.
To prepare for a winter without Russian energy supplies, Germany announced on Friday that its gas reserves have been replenished 95% faster than expected.
Largely dependent on Russian gas, Europe’s largest economy was scrambling to ramp up supplies ahead of the winter after exports from Russia were halted after the start of the war in Ukraine.
Berlin set a number of targets in July to ensure gas supplies are 95% full by November. Economics Minister Robert Habeck described Friday’s report as an “important milestone”.
Berlin has also implemented policies that allow for the use of more coal energy and less energy consumption in public structures.
In addition, Germany may have to temporarily limit its electricity exports, including to France. The Financial Times quoted Hendrik Neumann, chief technical officer of Germany’s main network operator Amprion, as saying that this could be Germany’s “last resort”.
Germany has been an important electricity exporter for many years. It shipped 17,400 GWh more electricity to other EU nations than it imported last year, according to the grid regulator, but sanctions on Russia have undermined Europe’s largest economy.