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Primary Care Aspects in the German Coalition Agreement 2021

HumanInsight Primary Care Aspects in the German Coalition Agreement 2021

Gesundheitswesen. 2023 Jan 24. doi: 10.1055/a-1974-8606. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Despite statewide rising numbers of family physicians during the last legislative period, their overall health care providing capacity has declined, mainly due to their working part-time. In the legislative period starting in 2021, this trend appears likely to continue. The German Health System Advisory Council foresees the number of general practitioners (GPs) who will have to be replaced by the next federal election in 2025 as exceeding 26,000. This results in a need for political action to sustain the primary care workforce.

METHODS: We conducted a content analysis of the coalition agreement 2021 between SPD, Greens and FDP with regard to explicit and related topics of GP care. A mixed inductive-deductive classification of the included text passages was used to thematically structure the results.

RESULTS: A total of 34 relevant text passages were identified between pages 8 to 139 of the coalition agreement. Family physician care was explicitly addressed only once, when the planned abolition of budgeting was discussed. Other proposals which affect family physicians work included reduction of bureaucracy, prevention, or easier access to medical care for disadvantaged groups. Other passages of the coalition agreement regarding security of medical supply, included demand planning, innovative healthcare models, and cross-sectoral care. One focus of the coalition agreement was on digitalization. It mentions e. g., a digitization strategy for the healthcare sector, telemedicine services, and the electronic medical record, including opt-out possibility. Other assessed passages included projects to facilitate research or climate change and health.

CONCLUSION: Despite the lack of mention of family physicians in the coalition agreement, many projects relate to the work of family physicians. Some of the ideas mentioned have also already been written down by the German Society for General Practice and Family Medicine (DEGAM) in its positions on the future of general practice, digitization or climate change and health. The planned projects in the coalition agreement have the potential to strengthen health care by family doctors and also make it more attractive for young doctors. However, further measures may be necessary to maintain GP care in the short and long term.

PMID:36693391 | DOI:10.1055/a-1974-8606

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