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Doctor shortage alarms military commissioner

DDP/DPA/The Local · 16 Mar 2010, 10:08

Published: 16 Mar 2010 10:08 GMT+01:00

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Just ahead of presenting his final annual report, Robbe told daily Bild that more than 120 doctors had resigned recently, leaving an overall shortage of some 600 military physicians.

"The medical inspector is obviously not up to his task," he told the paper.

Medical deficits will be among the report’s main points, Robbe said, but a shortage of weaponry and vehicles are also on the list, Bild reported. Lack of funding should not be an excuse for equipment shortages because this is directly related to soldiers’ safety – a situation he said was “not optimal.”

In another Tuesday interview with broadcaster ARD, Robbe said the German armed forces suffered from general organisational failures.

“Something that worries me, and I say it in all clarity, are the structure problems in the Bundeswehr,” he said.

The Social Democrat also told ARD that due to slow progress some of the same problems listed in his first report five years ago remain on the list.

Meanwhile Germany continues to fail at providing moral support to Bundeswehr troops, he added.

Robbe’s term as parliament's military commissioner ends on May 12, when he will be succeeded by Free Democratic politician Hellmut Königshaus.

Story continues below…

Last month Robbe addressed a hazing scandal in the German army, which snowballed into more soldiers blowing the whistle on ugly rites of passage.

The affair was revealed when a young soldier who trained at the camp in Mittenwald, Bavaria came forward to describe hazing that included recruits being forced to drink alcohol until they were sick, eat raw pig liver, and conduct climbing exercises in the nude before their fellow soldiers.

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:14 March 16, 2010 by Henckel
The medic in the picture appears to be wearing a revived version of the sleeve insignia of rank originally used by the Wehrmacht for camouflage uniforms. Nothing wrong with that -- after all, the collar insignia for generals has been used since the 19th century, and is based upon a collar insignia of Frederick the Great's day.
16:48 March 16, 2010 by Celeon
Did you know that the Bundeswehr can draft any man with medical background up to the age of 32 when they couldn't do it because one was studying medicine?

Happens rarely but thats the shortest straw one can pick.

Being drafted into basic service at that age without knowing that they can do that to you at all , with a good chance of recieving orders from 18 or 19 year old boys then.
17:24 March 16, 2010 by magdelana
I just read Germany is the 3rd world exporter of weapons. Is this not contradicting to them being short of eguipment. And lets clean up the act as far as hazing and. lets clean up the act and create a good reputation. the military is critical the future.!
19:37 March 16, 2010 by Alofat
Magdalena the Bundeswehr is a buyer not a producer of military equipment. It has a budget that is controlled by the government and yes they have to pay for all those tanks and weapons too. Just because Germany produces cars doesn't mean everyone here gets one for free either.
09:55 March 17, 2010 by mixxim
You can have at least two more german doctors back. Read the English papers. I assume only the most useless ones leave Germany to work in the National Health Service as they cannot get jobs in Germany.
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