German healthcare system should prepare for war – minister

Aprilia Rine

German healthcare system should prepare for war – minister

Germany seeks to improve its healthcare system to be able to swiftly respond to crisis situations, such as a new pandemic or a military conflict, the country’s health minister has said.

Karl Lauterbach believes the reform will become “a turning point for the healthcare system,” with a bill expected to be presented in the summer, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” in an interview published on Saturday.

The ruling traffic light coalition already pushed for some improvements in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the health minister said that with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine this challenge has become even more important.

“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 high number of injured people among the clinics in Germany,” Lauterbach explained.

The minister said hospitals must also conduct drills to practice their response to disasters, dismissing accusations of scaremongering by arguing that “doing nothing is not an option.”

“It would be silly to say we are not preparing for a military conflict and then it won’t come. According to the logic, there would be no need for a Bundeswehr,” he said.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius stated in November that the country must become “war-capable,” and insisted again in January that Berlin and the whole of NATO should arm itself more actively to be able to “wage a war that is forced upon us.”

Bundeswehr General Carsten Breuer has called last month for a “change in mentality” within German society, insisting that the nation needs to build credible “deterrence” to prepare for a potential war with Russia in five years’ time.

German MP warns against ending up like Hitler

Commenting on claims that Russia might be planning an attack on Germany or any other NATO state, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in January that European officials were “inventing an external enemy” to divert attention from domestic problems. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that “no one wants a big war,” especially Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin has also repeatedly dismissed such speculation as “complete nonsense,” insisting that Moscow has “no geopolitical, economic… or military interest” in starting a conflict with NATO.

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