Health workers are not a commodity
Association of Democratic Doctors rejects international recruitment of Health workers
The Association of Democratic Physicians (vdää*) rejects the expansion of the international recruitment of health workers (1). In order to overcome the shortage of health professionals, the vdää* demands a binding and adequate staffing ratio and the complete overcoming of the DRG system by a financing system based on self-cost coverage and excluding profit-making.
The problem of staff shortages in hospitals has worsened enormously in recent years. The conditions found in German hospitals today are neither a coincidence nor a necessary fate of an ageing society. The financing of hospitals through DRGs and the market-mediated competition between hospitals have led to working conditions that are driving nursing staff in particular to leave their jobs en masse. Surveys show that many would be willing to return if conditions improved. (2) This can only be achieved in the long term through adequate, needs-based funding and staffing ratios. Karen Spannenkrebs, vdää* advocacy officer for HRH recruitment, demands: "The goal must be to shape work in health professions in Germany in such a way that there is no longer a need for cross-border recruitment of health professionals."
If there are calls today to solve the shortage of skilled workers through increased recruitment from abroad, the actual problems remain unaffected. On the contrary, the recruitment of foreign specialists can even support the current situation. The "revolution" in hospital financing announced by Health Minister Lauterbach falls far short of what is necessary for this. The abolition of DRGs, which the vdää* has been demanding for years, was announced in a big way, but has not happened. "Together with colleagues from all professional groups, we stand for a financing system that is based on self-cost recovery and excludes profit-making," Karen Spannenkrebs continues.
Instead of a consistent restructuring of nursing and health care, Germany has been relying for about ten years on private and state recruitment from countries where the working conditions for nurses and doctors are even worse, so that labour migration seems attractive. This further exacerbates the globally unequal distribution of health workers. "The idea of being able to simply import health workers instead of finding a sustainable solution to the problem shows a colonial arrogance and world view in which people from poorer countries are regarded as resources that can be disposed of according to the needs of the Federal Republic," criticises Spannenkrebs.
Migration is a right that we stand up for. However, the international recruitment of health workers from countries with lower earning potential exacerbates the shortage of skilled workers there and thus poses a threat to the health care of the population, regardless of whether the recruitment is carried out by the state or by private agencies. Therefore, vdää* rejects the active recruitment of health workers.
Felix Ahls, Co-Chair of vdää*