Medical president calls for tax breaks for retirement-age doctors

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Written By Maya Cantina

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In view of the increasing workforce shortage in the healthcare sector, Medical President Klaus Reinhardt is calling for tax breaks for doctors of retirement age to encourage them to continue working. “To alleviate the consequences of the doctor shortage, we need to address several areas,” Reinhardt told the Editorial Network Germany (RND) before the start of Doctors’ Day. A relatively effective short-term measure would be to recruit retired doctors to provide patient care, he pointed out.

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Many of you would like to contribute at least part-time. “If we want to continue to use their workforce and their experience, intelligent and flexible tax rules and incentives must be created,” Reinhardt said, warning: “We must prevent the looming baby boomer brain drain.”

More emphasis on general practice

Reinhardt also advocated giving more weight to general medicine in medical studies. “The course should better reflect outpatient care and especially general medicine, so that more young doctors work in this field again,” he said. A draft regulation for the reform has been ready for some time. But there is no progress as the federal and state governments fight over funding. “An agreement must be reached quickly, because it will take years before the reform is implemented and its effects on healthcare are felt,” the medical president warned.

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There are currently approximately 4,800 unfilled GP posts nationwide. According to various forecasts, this gap will double in the next ten years if no countermeasures are taken. According to estimates from the Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance (ZI) from February 2024, a total shortage of up to 50,000 doctors can be expected in 2040. According to the latest medical statistics, the increase in the number of working doctors is currently 1.7 percent to around 428,000 people, but is still below pre-pandemic growth. In 2019, this growth rate was 2.5 percent.

An important topic of Doctors’ Day is better dealing with patients during treatments in practices and clinics. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is expected at the opening on Tuesday.

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