When hans menzel recently returned to his family doctor’s office, he couldn’t believe his eyes: "they’re running around with self-sewn masks and gowns, because that’s all they can get. I am shocked." the 64-year-old suffers from the severe lung disease COPD, he was already dependent on disinfectants, gloves and protective masks long before corona. We’ve even given a few of them to our doctors now. "The hollow phrases that politicians spout are completely out of touch with reality, says menzel. "Because the conditions for doctors and hospital staff are sometimes no better than in a developing country."
Eight masks for five employees
The region’s doctors’ offices, old people’s homes, hospitals and nursing services are united in their wait for urgently needed protective equipment. While the corona crisis confronts those working in the healthcare sector with new challenges and decisions every day, it seems that care is still far from keeping pace.
"All of them act as if they have enough equipment. But there are simply no masks available," says, says udo meibner, a pediatrician from bamberg. He was referred from one place to another in his search, from the city to the district office and from the district medical association to the association of panel doctors, who wanted to provide care in the outpatient area. "We are afraid that the complete protective equipment will go to the hospitals – but how should we then behave in corona suspicion cases??" without adequate protection, he cannot imagine that emergency services or even normal practice operations will continue to be possible. "The problem has really all. I’m 47, but many of my colleagues are already over 60. I wouldn’t go back in there without protective gear." in meibner’s practice, which is visited by 100 children plus parents on a normal day, there are still eight so-called FFP protective masks for five employees. "You can wear a mask like this for a few days if need be – but what are we going to do in two weeks??"
Bavaria’s minister president markus soder and health minister melanie huml meanwhile pointed out on tuesday that the delivery of protective material and disinfectants in bavaria is progressing well. "New protective masks have arrived. More than 800,000 have arrived at the bavarian central warehouse and are being distributed immediately to hospitals and other facilities", explained soder. Further deliveries by the federal government and the state’s own production were to follow. For huml, it is "important to give doctors and nurses in particular the best possible support in their dedicated work". Because they are on the front line in the fight against the coronavirus.
"This is a very difficult situation, says andrea dotterweich from the outpatient care service jura-schwestern in windischletten, whose customers include numerous elderly patients in the city and district of bamberg. "We want to protect our employees and patients." for a long time they have ordered the urgently needed protective masks, but for weeks now they have only been kept in suspense. "One waits and waits, but the health department does not want one to ask too often." now when the expected case numbers came, their nurses actually always had to go in protective suits. She has the "impression that outpatient care services have a shadowy existence. Despite all the adversities, we have been able to function without a hitch so far. And that’s despite the fact that we care almost exclusively for high-risk groups that are at particular risk.
When it comes to the distribution of care aids such as masks and protective clothing, she also has the impression that those responsible do not have outpatient care on their radar at all. "While hospitals are undoubtedly doing the most important work in this crisis and are now finally receiving a lot of funding for this, nothing at all has been done in our outpatient care – and I’m only talking about my facility now." time is running out and andrea dotterweich hopes that at least the masks will arrive soon – and that there will still be a realistic number of pieces left for her nursing service.
At least a letter from the district administration office on tuesday morning gave some hope, stating that "the first delivery of hand disinfectant, protective suits and a small number of FFP2 half masks has arrived and is being temporarily stored until distribution". However, hospitals, nursing homes, old people’s homes, outpatient doctors and the public health service were to be served as a priority. By wednesday, everyone should once again communicate their acute needs.
How does the district administration, as the health authority, assess the situation?? "The supply status of the clinics in the district of bamberg is currently guaranteed", says press spokesman frank fortsch. "The first two shipments of the material allocated to us by the supreme disaster control authorities in bavaria arrived here on saturday and monday", confirms fortsch and admits however: "still is the foreseeable need more roughly than the supplies." that is why prioritization is indispensable in the distribution process.
"In case of doubt, online consultations"
The bavarian association of statutory health insurance physicians (KVB) is responsible for physicians in private practice. "According to its own information, the federal government has instructed the procurement office of the german armed forces to purchase protective equipment centrally", says KVB spokesman axel heise. When asked what he recommends to doctors who are still waiting for protective equipment, the spokesman refers, among other things, to the driving service that takes corona swabs at home so that these patients do not go to the doctor’s office. "In case of doubt, doctors without protective equipment can resort to online consultations", suggests heise further. Georg knoblach of the district association of physicians is not pleased with the KVB when it comes to protective equipment: "for the outpatient area, I am still waiting for the KVB to fulfill its rude promise to ensure supply here."
On wednesday afternoon, the KVB also announced that the first deliveries from the federal level had arrived. "The number of FFP2 masks was around 70,000, and around 75 percent of the masks supplied lacked certification so that they could not be distributed further", the KVB states on its homepage. With just under 18,000 practices in bavaria, the material supplied so far is far from sufficient to cover even the shortest-term requirements.