Viersen The paediatricians in NRW have had enough. Their practices are already working at full capacity due to the infection season and the vaccinations against the Corona virus. And now a new compulsory test is coming virtually overnight. A doctor in Bonn calls it an "idiotic regulation".
Paediatricians and adolescent doctors are going on the barricades: They are protesting vehemently against a new obligation according to which accompanying parents may only come to the practices with a negative test and staff must be tested daily. Paediatricians are stunned by the medically nonsensical new regulation in the amended Infection Protection Act, which could lead to the closure of many practices, warned the Professional Association of Paediatricians and Adolescent Doctors (BVKJ) in NRW on Wednesday.
"We are all spinning our wheels. We have infection season, we vaccinate against Corona. Our staff is at the end of its tether. And then such an order comes from politics," said Christiane Thiele, chairperson of the BVKJ North Rhine, to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
If by the end of the week "there is no legally secure, practical and cost-neutral correction, all practices should make concrete plans for closure", Thiele and the chairman for Westphalia-Lippe, Marcus Heidemann, stressed in a joint statement. "We are tired of finding a new political surprise behind a little door in the Corona Advent calendar every day, which then makes everyday life in the practice more difficult," Heidemann clarified.
New Corona guidelines overnight
"99 percent of our patients are accompanied by their parents," Thiele explained when asked by dpa. Even if the parents are vaccinated, they now have to present a test before they are admitted to the paediatrician's practice - or are tested there on the spot. In addition, all practice staff would have to be tested daily. "At the same time, most of them are boostered" - that is, triple vaccinated against the coronavirus. Exceptions only apply to the patients themselves, i.e. the children, who do not have to be tested.
The whole thing had happened practically overnight. The practices were only informed on Tuesday via the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. "The KBV informed us yesterday evening with effect today," the paediatrician from Viersen reported. "The mood is the same in all federal states: Enough is enough."
There are hardly any rapid tests left, she said. "I still have 50 to 60 tests. There is nothing left on the market. I can test my staff for a few more days, then next week I would have to close," Thiele said. "If I also test the parents, I would have to close tomorrow." Bonn paediatrician Axel Gerschlauer has a similar view. "I still have 30 tests. Next week at the latest, I would be closed here.“
Criticism of "bullshit regulation"
Gerschlauer spoke of an "idiotic regulation". And: "I have to boycott it today because otherwise I can't treat my patients." The obligation to test and check cannot work, he said: "If a mum is standing in front of the door with a child crying from earache on her hand, but without a negative test, then I certainly won't send her to the vaccination centre first."
The Bonn physician said that the fact that the politicians were "threatening such a regulation with a fine without thinking and without expertise" was annoying the doctors. In Saxony, they tried some kind of "trick" and defined parents as a unit with their child in order to circumvent the new test obligation.
The professional association clarified: The passage from the controversial Infection Protection Act of the SPD, Greens and FDP means a considerable cost and time expenditure for all practices. The amended law was passed by the Bundestag last week, and the Bundesrat also gave the green light.
It remains to be seen who will pay for the many additional tests. The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians demanded: "Due to the now daily obligation to test, the number of free tests must be increased immediately.”
From the point of view of paediatricians, they are forced to decide either "to deliberately ignore the new law in order to maintain patient care or to close their practices this week and wait for the regulations to be improved."
Original text: Yuriko Wahl-Immel (dpa)
Translation: Mareike Graepel