Bahr: 'Germany needs more foreign nurses'
German Health Minister Daniel Bahr said on Monday he would push for immigration rules to be eased for healthcare workers, as the country battles against a growing dearth of nurses.
Immigration has helped the country bump up its number of doctors, Bahr told the Die Welt newspaper. Now, the same needed to be done in other areas of the medical field.
Making coming to Germany easier for nurses and healthcare assistants should be the next step – something that previously had been rejected by Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservative Christian Democrats. Bahr is a member of their junior coalition party the Free Democrats (FDP).
“The hurdles are still too high,” he said, in reference to the strict laws in place for non-EU citizens to live and work in Germany.
The German cabinet recently signed off on a billion-euro emergency payout for the country's health clinics but for Bahr, this is not enough. “I expect hospitals to create more healthcare jobs,” he told Die Welt.
A main reason behind the country's chronic lack of care staff was, Bahr said, because the profession was so badly paid. And as Germany ages, working in healthcare needed to be made more attractive, he added.