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Increasing cost pressure: midwives criticize mass closure of delivery rooms
More and more hospitals in Germany are closing their obstetrics stations. This is often justified with increasing cost pressure. In many cases, the remaining clinics can no longer find staff. The German Midwifery Association sounds the alarm.
Hospitals say goodbye to their obstetrics wards
It was only recently announced that 2015 had the highest birth rate in Germany in 33 years. "According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), a similarly high value was last proven in 1982 for the area of today's Germany with 1.51 children per woman," says a statement. But having children could become a problem. The reason: More and more hospitals are saying goodbye to their obstetrics stations.
The problem will worsen
In the past 25 years, the lights went out in around 40 percent of delivery rooms in Germany. “In 1991 there were still 1186 clinics where births were possible. In 2014 there were only 725 obstetrics clinics left. Since then, almost every month a delivery room closes the doors completely or temporarily, ”writes the German Midwives Association on its website.
The president of the association, Martina Klenk, said according to a news agency dpa: "It is a dramatic development". She warned: "If the conditions for working do not improve, the problem will worsen."
Hospitals in rural areas without obstetrics
Even in many rural regions there is no longer a hospital with obstetrics. For example in the almost 2000 square kilometer district of Diepholz in Lower Saxony. Jutta Meyer-Kytzia, who worked as a midwife in the delivery room for a long time, said according to dpa: "With travel distances of up to 50 kilometers, women have great concerns to make it to the clinic in time."
In the meantime, she is a freelancer taking care of birth preparation and aftercare. "I have to reject at least half of the requests from pregnant women," says Meyer-Kytzia. Many colleagues had left the district after the former four obstetrics stations had closed.
Clinics can no longer find staff
For a long time, complaints about a lack of midwives and general staffing have been complained about in many of the 700 maternity hospitals that remain in Germany.
"Due to the enormous workload and the time pressure, many colleagues no longer want to work in the delivery room," explained Klenk. In many places, clinics have to temporarily close their delivery rooms. “Women who are at the door with contractions are turned away. We know that from Munich, Stuttgart or Freiburg, ”said the association president.
It is also often seen as problematic that the liability premiums for midwives only increased again last year. It is therefore becoming increasingly difficult for expectant mothers to find the right midwife.
Every third hospital makes losses
The chief executive of the German Hospital Society (DKGEV), Georg Baum, said in the agency announcement: “A third of the hospitals in Germany make losses. In many cases, the houses have no choice but to close the labor-intensive obstetrics station. "
According to him, it will be decided on Thursday "whether the death of obstetrics will continue." Because then the security supplement is on the agenda in the Federal Joint Committee. This is to ensure that rural hospitals that are important for emergencies receive additional financial resources.
From the perspective of the DKGEV, obstetrics stations should also be supported in this way. "The health insurance companies reject this. We don't think that's exactly family-friendly, ”says Baum.
Attempted solution is not optimal
On the islands of Föhr, Sylt and Fehmarn, which belong to Schleswig-Holstein, there is an attempt to solve the problem after the delivery rooms are closed. As part of the "boarding" concept, residents can move into a room on the mainland up to two weeks before the calculated date of birth.
However, midwives do not consider this solution optimal. "Hardly a child is born on the calculated date," said Klenk. “They need a window of at least four weeks.” Part of the reason that they don't want to tear their children out of their familiar surroundings is that many pregnant women stay at their place of residence on the island for as long as possible.
It was only in September that a woman from Sylt, who wanted to go to the hospital in Husum, gave birth to her little daughter in the ambulance on the car train heading for the mainland. (ad)