Concerted Action? In Germany Many Healthcare Providers Take the Initiative Alone
In the Germany, labour shortages are particularly pronounced in the healthcare industry. The effects of this are being felt already, with nurses facing adverse working conditions and for low pay. The government have proposed plans to try and mitigate some impacts of this “care emergency”. However, until those proposals are effective, hospital and care home staff are being expected to cope by themselves, whilst plans are made to recruit from abroad.
Caring for Patients in Adverse Conditions
The welfare of patients is the highest priority for German care and medical staff. With an aging population resulting in raising patient numbers, Germany is on course to be short 3 million nurses by 2060. Nurses and carers are put under increasing pressure by the rising workload. They report longer working hours, to skipping or delaying their bathroom and lunch breaks, sacrificing their own wellbeing. Paperwork is often postponed. Not surprisingly, morale is suffering among these people who choose a social and caring profession. They are crying out for more colleagues to cope with the growing work demands. These often come from abroad. In an interview with DW, Christina Körner, a nurse at the Johanniter Education Center in Bonn she complained that in her 20 years work experience the situation has been getting progressively worse. While she appreciates the additional staff hired from abroad, as a result of the relentless day-to-day pressures, not enough time is spent on integration, which further increases stress in the workplace. Ms Körner called on the German government to act.
The Concerted Action Care Plan
Last year, Germany’s Minister of Heath Jens Spahn, Minister for Families Franziska Giffey and Minister for Labour Hubertus Heil envisioned a new plan to solve the labour shortage crisis of the healthcare industry. Now the Concerted Action Care plan has been developed and is ready to put into practice. The main of the plan are promises higher wages and higher staffing levels, the digitalisation of paperwork as an attempt to decrease workload, and an increase of 10% of more nurse and geriatric care trainees by 2023.
It is certain, however, that these policies are not enough to cover the labour shortages in the sector sufficiently and quickly enough. For years, Germany has looked to other countries from which to recruit nurses and carers. A very welcome part of the overall strategy, therefore, are proposals to simplify recognition procedures for foreign care qualifications, and a promise of help with education in these countries. The government’s long-awaited attempts are certainly a good first step in the right direction, considering the awaiting care emergency. However, most hospitals and care homes will wait for many years for this policy to be sufficiently implemented for them to feel the first benefits. Some smaller care homes may not get catered for at all.
In the Meantime
As plans from the government are only starting to make an impact in many years’ time, there is an increasing number of hospitals and care homes that take the initiative to recruit from abroad themselves. However, the process is complex and an extra burden for directors of nursing and HR who after are caught up with dealing with urgent everyday issues of their patients and staff. It is good to see the initiative hospitals and care homes take to tackle the ongoing crisis in healthcare. This is where, as a New Personnel, a recruitment agency specialising in this area, we feel we can help. We offer help to avoid pitfalls and take away the stress of legal and immigration rules, as well as being able to access a pool of potential resources, as well as strategies to ensure the new staff from overseas fit in quickly and become rapidly an integrated part of the team. The sooner we are able to help, the easier this process is, and we all want it to an effective solution to this ongoing issue in healthcare.
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