German hospitals on the brink due to rise in viral infections

With around 9.5M people suffering from acute respiratory diseases, Germany's healthcare system is being pushed to its limits, say experts

19.12.2022 - Update : 20.12.2022
German hospitals on the brink due to rise in viral infections


A wave of acute respiratory illnesses is pushing the German healthcare system to its limits, with the situation especially acute in hospitals and children's clinics, according to leading figures in the sector.

"We are currently facing all areas of health care reaching their limits," Gerald Gass, head of the board of the German Hospital Association (DKG), told Augsburger Allgemeine daily.

Particularly in children's hospitals, the situation is "dramatic," Gass said. Doctors in Germany have exhausted their capacities and are further hampered by sick leave, he added.

Hospitals are running out of beds. Besides COVID-19, the triggers are a wave of influenza and respiratory illnesses in children.

According to the hospital association figures, almost one in 10 hospital employees is currently ill. Children are admitted to hospitals because there is a lack of medication for outpatient treatment. These are "untenable conditions," Gass explained.

The German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine pointed to a "historic dimension" of the crisis.

Christian Karagiannidis, the group’s head, told Rheinische Post daily that in many regions there are virtually no more free intensive care unit beds. He added that he had never experienced anything like this before.

Last week, the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin reported the number of acute respiratory illnesses in Germany stood at around 9.5 million. According to the institute, this level is higher than during severe flu waves seen in previous years.

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