Ailing Health System

Students address problem areas in the current health systemm (Photo: Stefanie Rose)

Neuruppin, 23 September 2022

Our healthcare system was in the focus of this year’s Summer School at the MHB, campus Brandenburg an der Havel, from 19 to 23. September 2022 (event title: Patient Gesundheitssystem. Wege zu einer patient*innenzentrierten Versorgung). Students of medicine and psychology asked probing questions.

Prof. Dr. Edmund Neugebauer who was in charge of organization pointed to the very special content alignment and the signal being sent by the MHB in its commitment to a non-profit kind of healthcare oriented towards human needs.

For many years Neugebauer has criticized the health system for having lost sight of patients and human needs in general: “The Corona pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the deficits of an obsolete system of healthcare, and we cannot carry on as before. We have no problem with resources in our health system nor with the providers of services. On the contrary: our medical and nursing professionals are among the best. But we need to realize that in international comparison our system is too expensive and – most important – has lost its powers of innovation. The entire system is outdated, unwieldy and dysfunctional. Digitization may help but does not solve elementary structural problems. A drastic cure is what the system needs!”

Neugebauer underlined the particular responsibilities of medical schools in training prospective physicians who upon graduation “will be released into an ailing healthcare system. We share responsibility for their future.”

Students formed small groups to address selected problem areas such as “nursing crisis”, “disincentives”, “waiting periods” and “shortage of material”.

Medical student Jan Auswitz, currently in his one-year internship at the university clinic in Ruppin-Brandenburg, feels that the health system in its present form makes it impossible for him to treat patients the way he imagines: with empathy, under no time pressure and without economic constraints: “One of the reasons to introduce change now.”

Caroline Beck (5th-semester medical student) adds that all professional categories involved agree that they do not intend to be broken by the system as it is. 3rd-semester psychology student Henrik Wachtel thinks of long waiting periods in psychotherapy when he points out that he wants to treat patients when and as soon as they need attention, and not with a delay of many weeks.

Jillis Grüber (5th-semester medical student) says as a prospective physician who is going to take the Hippocratic oath to uphold ethical standards, he would not want to be part of a health system which entails the risk of putting economic interests before medical considerations.

Summing up, Prof. Edmund Neugebauer said this year’s Summer School was another strong message that the MHB is committed to health care oriented to patients’ needs and not to profit. He was pleased to note that early in their studies MHB students are able to identify and describe deficits of the health system, do background research and develop creative approaches to solutions.