Fewer medics than ever chose GP route
Dwindling numbers of young German doctors qualifying as general practitioners (GPs) are causing concern in the medical community, which said this week the country would face disaster if the shortage was not addressed.
In 2012, the lowest ever number of medical students graduated as GPs. Just 949 out of 10,247 of the year's new doctor intake opted for the route.
This was 300 fewer GPs than in 2011, when the number stood at 1,298 according to figures from the KVB – the country's association of statutory health insurance doctors.
“If left untreated we will be facing disaster in less than ten years,” said KVB board chairwoman Regina Feldmann, referring to the shrinking numbers.
By 2020, 48,000 doctors that are now qualified and working will have retired, leaving gaping holes in the country's GP clinics, she said, adding that medical schools did not put enough weight on training more generalised doctors.
Feldmann, initially a GP herself, wants to call on states to tell universities to make primary health care more attractive to medical students.
“If surgeries close and we have done nothing to prepare against it, more people will end up in hospital due to a lack of primary health care,” warned head of the federal committee for doctors, health insurers and clinics Josef Hecken.
According to figures from the KVB, there are around 60,000 GPs registered in Germany.