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3 Mar, 2024 00:20

German healthcare system should prepare for war – minister

Berlin must be ready for “major disasters,” Karl Lauterbach has said
German healthcare system should prepare for war – minister

Germany must improve its healthcare system to be able to swiftly respond to crisis situations, such as a new pandemic or a military conflict, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has said.

Legislation for reforms expected to be presented this summer will be “a turning point for the healthcare system,” the Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician told the newspaper Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday.

Though the ruling ‘traffic light coalition’ has already pushed for reforms following the Covid-19 pandemic, the health minister said that with the Ukraine conflict, the challenges have 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 this logic, there would be no need for a Bundeswehr,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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