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Language trouble behind many medical mishaps

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Photo: DPA
10:55 CET+01:00
Chief medical officers can only communicate with one-third of their staff in German and more patients are complaining about many physicians' poor command of the German language, the head of the Berlin Medical Association said on Monday.

Günther Jonitz, in an interview with Deutschlandradio Kultur, said these communication problems are negatively affecting doctor-patient relations and are the main reason when things go wrong.

Physicians who speak fluent German are increasingly removed from patient care and put in charge of writing reports, he said. “The risks are growing,” he told the programme.

The main culprit is economics and a “truly lousy healthcare policy” that puts too much emphasis on numbers and economic profit and forgets people in the system.

German physicians and nurses however are no longer willing to put up with this, Jonitz said.

“Whoever can, leaves for other countries and works where a doctor or nurse is well regarded – in Switzerland, Scandinavia, England, France (and) Holland.”

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Their places are being filled with doctors from countries where working conditions are even worse than in Germany,” Jonitz said.

DAPD/The Local/mw

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