Countries are committed to making the pact for public transport permanent...

Countries are committed to making the pact for public transport permanent…



Travemnde In addition to strengthening outpatient medical care, the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK) has committed itself above all to the further development of the public health service (GD).

The German health system is unthinkable without a strong public health service. It is and remains a mainstay of our health care, according to a resolution of the GMK, which met yesterday and today in Lübeck-Travemünde. The states are convinced that the GD will become even more important in view of the future challenges.

The tasks of the GD are primarily oriented towards the needs of public health and the orientation is focused on a health-promoting living environment and equal health opportunities combined with a focus on proximity to citizens, networking and acting in partnership with many other actors.

In 2020, the federal and state governments agreed on the GD Pact during the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government is financing the pact with four billion euros over a period from 2021 to the end of 2026. This will be used, among other things, to create 5,000 new jobs in the health authorities and to invest in digital infrastructure, including the further development of the German Electronic Reporting and Information System (DEMIS) for the automated and rapid reporting of notifiable infectious diseases.

The efforts to develop a future-proof and crisis-resilient GD must not end with the expiration of the GD Pact at the end of 2026, warned the Chair of the Conference of Health Ministers, Kerstin von der Decken (CDU) today. She criticized the federal government for wanting to unilaterally withdraw from financing the pact. Our goal is to make the GD Pact permanent, she demanded.

Sustainable strengthening of the GD required

A sustainable structural strengthening of the GD is needed, as the challenges posed by security situations, crises, climate change, pandemics and demographic developments will continue to increase. Everyone should be aware of this and act responsibly, says von der Decken. The GMK resolution states: The federal government, states and municipalities are jointly called upon to secure the structures created for the GD as part of the pact and to develop them further in an appropriate manner in view of the diverse tasks.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) declared today that the continued financing of the GD was the responsibility of the states. The federal government was not in a position to provide further funds. The head of the public health department in the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), Ute Teichert, also spoke about the difficult budgetary situation yesterday at a conference of the Federal Medical Association (BK) in Berlin. However, it was actually her great wish to continue the pact, said Teichert. It was now time to look for solutions.

In fact, the GD pact has already led to a significant increase in personnel. When it comes to filling positions, all federal states are above target, Teichert said yesterday. The threshold of 3,600 filled positions, which was actually targeted for the end of 2023, has already been significantly exceeded: around 4,420 positions were filled as of December 31, 2023. There are now around 4,830. What is questionable, however, is how many of these positions are temporary and will therefore expire after a certain period of time.

For the further development of the GD beyond 2026, the GMK has also set up a new working group at department head level. This group is to prepare a draft resolution that is to be adopted by the end of the year.

Report negative test results in the future

The GMK also called on the Federal Ministry of Health to examine whether negative test results for notifiable diseases should also be reported. The states argue that this is important for limiting outbreaks. So far, laboratories have only had to report positive laboratory results to the health authorities.

In order to be able to better combat bioterrorist threats in the future, the GMK is also requesting the establishment of a working group at the level of heads of departments with the participation of the BMG and the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) as well as the interior ministries of the federal states.

The Federal Association of Doctors in the Public Health Service (BVGD) welcomed the clear commitment of the federal states to the further development of the GD. We need a strong and reliable GD in Germany, said BVGD Chairwoman Kristina Böhm. In 2020, politicians reacted quickly based on their experiences during the pandemic and launched an unprecedented, large-scale funding program with the Pact for the GD.

More than 5,000 new jobs have been created in the GD and we have also made important steps forward in digitalization, said Bhm, assessing the situation. However, when the funding expires at the end of 2026, there is a risk that jobs will expire or be cut due to temporary contracts or a dire financial situation in the municipalities. We cannot afford that, emphasized Bhm.

She appealed that the health protection of the population must remain the top priority and that a sustainable and permanent improvement in the personnel situation in the GD is needed. The federal government, states and municipalities are equally responsible for this, said Bhm. © cmk/

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