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Doctor 'yoga-bonus' leaves coalition tense

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Doctor 'yoga-bonus' leaves coalition tense
Photo: DPA
16:19 CEST+02:00
German junior coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) has called for a bonus for doctors who recommend holistic activities to patients, but the suggestion has been met with scepticism.

Health Minister Daniel Bahr, of the FDP, has floated the idea of paying extra to doctors who promote activities such as yoga, Nordic walking or massage therapy to their patients.

“Prevention is a varied topic and it makes sense to integrate it into a doctor's approach,” said a ministry spokesman.

The intention is to motivate doctors to think more widely about preventative treatment for their patients, but the pro-business party's plan has triggered outcry from other politicians - and insurance companies.

Florian Lanz, spokesman from the statutory health insurance organisation, GKV, said he opposed the idea. Some doctors earn up to €160,000 putting them among the top earners in Germany and should not need additional ways to make more money.

“We want doctors to be looking after ill people who really need their help, like those with diabetes or cancer,” he told Die Welt daily newspaper.

FDP party leader Philipp Rösler, came up with the idea and passed it down to Bahr when he moved from the position of Minister for Health, the paper said.

It has not been accepted by Chancellor Merkel's conservatives, the main partner in the coalition, and according to reports from the Berliner Zeitung on Saturday they would be writing a proposal to contradict the FDP's idea.

According to the paper they, like the GKV, feel giving doctors more money is unnecessary and that a more wide-reaching approach is needed to better prevent illness.

DPA/The Local/jcw

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