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News > Germany

Skilled Labor Situation in German Healthcare Remains Tense

  • Healthcare worker cares for an elderly patient.

    Healthcare worker cares for an elderly patient. | Photo: X/ @TFNBreakingNews

Published 26 April 2024

This country is expected to face a shortage of between 280,000 and 690,000 nurses by 2049.

On Thursday, the Expert Council Health and Care (SVR) published a report showing that the skilled labor situation in the German healthcare system remains tense, although the number of doctors, nurses, and medical assistants has gone up in recent years.


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"In an international comparison, the German healthcare system has a relatively large number of employees in relation to the population. Nevertheless, there are clear supply bottlenecks. This points to structural deficits in the healthcare system," said SVR Chairman Michael Hallek.

The report said that if care structures are not reformed, the demand for skilled labor in the healthcare system will continue to grow faster than supply over the next 10-15 years.

However, "it will not be enough to further increase the number of employees... This can only be realized to a limited extent due to demographic trends, increasing competition for skilled workers and the associated costs," Hallek stated.

Significantly more patients in Germany would be treated in hospitals instead of on an outpatient basis, leading also to long hospital stays. Furthermore, there are also more part-time employees in the country so more staff will be needed to fill full-time positions.

Germany suffers from a massive shortage of skilled workers in many professions, making it economically dependent on immigration.

"Skilled workers from abroad make an important contribution to reducing the shortage of skilled labor in the healthcare sector, particularly in nursing," the SVR report stated.

Last year, the country suffered an average shortage of 17,656 skilled workers with completed vocational training in healthcare and nursing and 15,230 in geriatric nursing, the German Economic Institute (IW) said.

As a result of an aging society, Germany is expected to face a shortage of between 280,000 and 690,000 nurses by 2049, according to figures by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).

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