Germany bids farewell to footballer Robert Enke

About 40,000 mourners gathered Sunday to bid farewell to the late footballer Robert Enke at the Hannover 96 stadium, where Enke’s coffin was laid on the centre of the pitch during tearful speeches and music performances.

Germany bids farewell to footballer Robert Enke
Photo: DPA

The Hannover 96 and German national team goalkeeper killed himself on Tuesday after suffering depression for years.

Enke’s widow Teresa sat with family and friends on the sidelines of the pitch on a specially constructed podium.

National captain Michael Ballack and teammate Per Mertesacker laid a wreath for Enke. The entire national team then took turns bowing their heads before the wooden coffin, which was surrounded with flowers, including a heart made from white roses.

A schoolgirl sang “Old Love,” the club anthem of Hannover 96, which was followed by gentle applause.

German Football Association (DFB) president Theo Zwanziger appealed in his speech for people to look beyond football and consider wider humanity.

“Don’t think only about the brightness but also about the doubt and frailty in people,” he said.

Competition had to be balanced by respect and fairplay, he said.

It has been widely discussed, including by Enke’s father, that the footballer suffered extreme fear and anxiety about his performance on the football field, which probably contributed to his depression.

Lower Saxony Premier Christian Wulff praised the strength of Enke’s widow Teresa.

“What you have gone through, we can only imagine,” he said. “The warm-hearted applause has shown that we are with you.”

The memorial was also attended by national coach Joachim Löw and countless top football officials, players and former players, from Germany and abroad. It was broadcast live by five television stations.

Legendary German player Franz Beckenbauer, former national coach Jürgen Klinsmann and former top women’s player Steffi Jones were also there, as were Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière and former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

After a prayer by Catholic Priest Heinrich Plochg, Enke’s casket was carried out of the stadium to the music of Bette Midler’s “The Rose”, followed by the football anthem, “You’ll never walk alone.”

Enke was to be laid to rest in a private funeral later Sunday in the cemetery outside Hannover where his two-year-old daughter, who died in 2006 of a rare heart condition, is also buried.

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What you should know about Germany’s plans to roll out e-prescriptions

Germany is taking a big step towards a more digital-friendly health system, with plans to roll out e-prescriptions nationwide. Here's what you should know.

A person holds the e-Rezept app in a pharmacy in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony.
A person holds the e-Rezept app in a pharmacy in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Mohssen Assanimoghaddam

What’s happening?

From January 1st 2022, people in Germany will receive their prescriptions digitally (known in Germany as an ‘e-Rezept’) from healthcare providers.

Patients should be able to get their prescription from their doctor via a QR code sent to an app, which can then be transmitted to a pharmacy. The pharmacy can then let the patient know whether their medicine is in stock (or if they want to order it), and when it is ready for collection. 

This model is to be mandatory for people with statutory health insurance from the start of 2022, replacing the good old paper prescription.

However, the QR code can also be given to the patient by the doctor on a piece of paper if a patient does not have access to or doesn’t want to use a smartphone. 

READ ALSO: The changes around doctors notes in Germany you should know 

How exactly will it work?

In theory this is the plan – you’ll visit the doctor or have a video consultation. After the examination, the doctor will issue you with an electronic prescription for the medication that has been prescribed to you. 

A prescription code is automatically created for each ‘e-Rezept’, which you will need so you can get the medicine at the pharmacy. As we mentioned above, patients in Germany can either open this QR code in the free e-prescription app developed by Gematik and the Health Ministry, or receive it as a printout from the doctor. 

Next, you can take the prescription QR code (either in the app or as a printout) to your pharmacy of choice to get the medication needed.

One of the major differences and timesavers under the new system is that you can also select the pharmacy you want to get the prescription from digitally, order the medication (if needed) and you’ll be alerted when the prescription is ready. You can also arrange to have it delivered if needed. 

A doctor’s signature is not required, as e-prescriptions are digitally signed. 

The aim is that it will save on paperwork, time at the medical office and trips to the pharmacy. 

Some patients have already been receiving digital prescriptions. The ‘e-Rezept’ was tested out successfully in selected practices and pharmacies with a focus on the Berlin-Brandenburg region of Germany. The test phase started on July 1st this year.

Pharmacies and doctors’ offices nationwide have also been given the opportunity to test the new system from the start of December. 

“This will enable practice providers and pharmacy management systems to better prepare for the mandatory launch on January 2022 1st,” said, the official health portal site for German pharmacies

The new e-prescription app.
The new e-prescription app. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Mohssen Assanimoghaddam

READ ALSO: 10 rules to know if you get sick in Germany

There is some leeway though – if there are technical difficulties, paper prescriptions can still be issued in individual cases until the end of June next year.

The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians estimates that it could take until mid-2022 until all users are equipped with e-prescription applications nationwide.

The obligation does not apply to privately insured people from January next year. Private insurance companies can decide voluntarily to make the preparations for their customers to use the e-prescription.

What’s this about an app?

To be able to receive and redeem prescriptions electronically, people with statutory health insurance need the Gematik ‘das e-Rezept’ app. 

One issue is that the app appears to only be available at the moment in German app stores. We’ll try and find out if there are plans to change this and widen out the access, but it seems likely for that to happen. 

Germany’s Covid-Warn app, for example, was initially only open to German app stores but was gradually widened out to many others. 

As mentioned above though, those who don’t have access to an app will be able to use the paper with the code on it to access their prescriptions. 

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about making a doctor’s appointment in Germany

Has it all gone smoothly?

As you might expect, there have been a few hiccups. 

Originally, the introduction nationwide was planned for October but was postponed due to many providers not having all the tech requirements set up. 

Now though, more than 90 percent of the practice management systems have been certified by the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians – a prerequisite to issue the e-prescriptions.

The e-prescription is part of Germany’s far-reaching plans to digitise and streamline the health care system.

The head of Gematik GmbH, Markus Leyck Dieken, recently spoke of a “new era” that is “finally starting for doctors and patients” in Germany. 

Useful vocabulary:

Prescription – (das) Rezept

Doctor’s office/practice – (die) Arztpraxis

To order – bestellen 

Pharmacy – (die) Apotheke

Video consultation – (die) Videosprechstunde