Irini Anastasopoulou

“Germany must prepare not only for future pandemics, but also for major disasters and possible military conflicts,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said in an interview in today’s newspaper. Neue Osnabrücker expressing fears of an extension of the war beyond Ukrainian territory after two years of hostilities. “We also need a turn (Zeitwende) in the health care system as well especially as Germany could become a hub for the treatment of wounded from other countries in case the mutual assistance clause of NATOLauterbach argued, referring to what the coalition government under Olaf Scholz has done to deal with the pandemic and to better equip the structures of the health care system for major crises.

“After the criminal Russian attack on Ukraine, this challenge has unfortunately become more important,” he said. “There we have a legislative gap, which we have to address in order to be prepared for a disaster or even a case where we have to assist another NATO member state (under Article 5) however unlikely that may be.” . THE Lauterbach he also outlined the law that should be ready by the summer as follows: “In the event of a crisis every doctor, every hospital, every health authority must know what to do. We need clear responsibilities, for example for the distribution of a large number wounded in hospitals in Germany. Communication channels and options for patient transfers across Germany must also be clear. And regulations regarding stockpiling do not seem to be sufficient. But the deployment and allocation of medical staff must also be be clarified. And all this must be put into practice.”

Lauterbach added that already Germany has received as many seriously injured people from Ukraine for hospitalization as any other European country. Responding to a related question from the Social Democrat, the minister denied that he was panicking. “It would be foolish to say that we are not preparing for a military conflict, so it won’t come. By that logic, we wouldn’t even need an army. Doing nothing is not an option. We have already exchanged ideas with experts in Bundeswehr and we are working with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior.I expect that we will present a relevant bill in the summer for immediate approval by the cabinet.

THE Janos Damen, a Green party health expert agreed with Lauterbach. “There is an urgent need for a picture of the capacity and effectiveness of the entire country to provide health care,” he told Platform X. “We should know on a daily basis how many injured or sick people we can care for where, how, when and for how long . The Achilles heel of healthcare in Germany is its dependence on global supply chains for medical products and drugs. We need adequate stocks and the creation of decentralized reserve capabilities … ongoing wars and crises make it necessary for us to also be prepared to take care of a large number of wounded and sick”.