Berlin Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) wants to counteract the nursing shortage with a new tool for staffing. Key points for a corresponding law were sent to the traffic light groups, as government circles said on Thursday.
It should lead to clinics having to employ as many nursing staff in the future as are actually needed. Hospitals that do not meet the requirements must expect sanctions from 2025.
Lauterbach first announced the project two weeks ago before the conference of health ministers in Magdeburg. In front of demonstrating nurses, he promised his “full support”. “I share the central demand for a personnel assessment.”
The government will introduce the new nursing staff regulation (PPR 2.0). The situation in nursing is considered tense. In North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, employees at six university hospitals have been on strike for better working conditions for the past ten weeks.
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According to the project, patients are to be divided into performance levels in basic and special care in the future. For each level, it should be determined in minutes how long it takes for the care.
A few minutes more time per patient
In total, this should result in a time value per patient, with additional calculation variables (“basic and case values”) being added. The bottom line is that the need for nursing staff is to be mapped. The officially defined need for nursing time per patient is expected to increase by an average of 8.1 percent as a result of the new instrument.
According to a study by the Hans Böckler Foundation, more than every second caregiver who has left would be willing to return to work. A total of around 300,000 additional full-time employees would be available in Germany if working conditions improved. This is exactly the effect the government is hoping for from the new law.
A test phase is planned from January 1, 2023, according to government circles. A “representative selection” of hospitals is to be involved for the time being.
From January 1, 2024, the personnel assessment tool will be mandatory in all clinics. However, if a hospital has collective bargaining agreements or other contractual agreements to relieve nursing staff, then the hospitals should not have to use the new instrument.
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Then there should be no threat of sanctions. As the government circles went on to say, a collective agreement to relieve the strain, such as that which the university hospital employees in North Rhine-Westphalia are currently trying to achieve, would be such a possible alternative to the planned personnel assessment instrument.
The Verdi trade union, the German Hospital Society and the German Nursing Council had already handed over the key points for the new personnel assessment tool to the then Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) in 2020. After the federal election, the traffic light parties included the project in their coalition agreement.
With agency material.
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