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Only a small proportion of rich patients in clinics
Even if rich foreign patients are a sought-after clientele in some clinics, their share is only very small at around 0.5 percent in German hospitals. Nevertheless, medical tourism brings the German healthcare system over a billion euros.
Doctors look for sources of income At Südwest-Kliniken, well-heeled foreign patients are a sought-after clientele, according to a report by the dpa news agency. Ultimately, however, they are just a “drop in the bucket”. According to the Baden-Württemberg hospital company (BWKG), underfunding is "a general problem" for all 270 hospitals in the state. BWKG spokeswoman Annette Baumer told the German press agency in Karlsruhe: "Clinics are looking for other sources of income."
Advertise for Russian tourists This statement also relates to a controversial new representative office of the Freiburg University Hospital in Baden-Baden, which woos Russian tourists in their spa language in their mother tongue with the slogan "The only wealth is our health". As the online edition of the “Schwäbische Zeitung” reports, this is met with incomprehension and opposition on site. Accordingly, the CDU state parliamentarians Tobias Wald and Karl-Wolfgang Jägel fear a "competitive situation of clinics in public sponsorship" at the expense of normal patients. The city of Baden-Baden and the district of Rastatt, as the sponsors of the local Mittelbaden Clinic, are asking the state to "prevent advertising by the University Clinic Freiburg in Baden-Baden."
Medical tourism brings over a billion euros But even if the proportion of foreign patients, both nationally and nationwide, is only around 0.5 percent, it is obviously very lucrative. The "Ärzte Zeitung" reported in January that medical tourism is now flushing almost 1.1 billion euros into the German health system. According to reports, around ten percent of hospitals in Germany explicitly devoted themselves to this business area. The majority of the foreign patients who receive treatment here come from Russia. (ad)
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