• Germany's news in English

Hospital workers stage huge protest in Berlin

AFP · 25 Sep 2008, 20:12

Published: 25 Sep 2008 20:12 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Brought in by over 600 buses and dozens of special trains, tens of thousands of protestors came to what organisers said was the biggest protest by hospital employees in postwar Germany.

The show of force by doctors, nurses and other hospital staff at Berlin's historic Brandenburg Gate came a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet approved €3.2 billion euros ($4.7 billion) in extra funding.

Critics say this falls way short of what is needed and could force hospitals in Western Europe's most populous country to close their doors. According to Rettung der Krankenhäuser (Save the Hospitals, or RdK), an umbrella group representing healthcare unions and employers, the sector has a €6.7-billion funding shortfall for 2008 and 2009 alone.

In the past decade, one in ten hospitals in Western Europe's most populous country have been forced to shut due to lack of funds. One in five hospital beds has disappeared in the same period while the number of patients has risen by 17 percent, and a third of Germany's almost

2,200 state and private hospitals are currently in the red.

The authorities are "not providing enough funding for treatment, drugs and sufficient personnel," the RdK says, and funding cuts and rising costs "are pushing hospitals more and more into a hopeless position."

The RdK says that 11,000 jobs are at risk next year, on top of the 100,000 that have already been lost in the past decade. It is not the federal government that pays directly for the country's hospitals - the bill is picked up by Germany's 16 states, by local authorities and by public health insurance funds.

Story continues below…

According to Gerd Billen, head of Germany's association of consumer federations, Germany has "too many hospitals and too many beds", more per capita than in France and in other European countries.

"We spend €50 billion on hospitals every year. I think we could save four to five billion annually," Billen told DeutschlandRadio.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd