Shortage of nursing staff takes on dramatic forms

Germany lacks at least 35.000 caregivers. While in the care of the elderly around 23.000 positions are vacant, there is a shortage of more than 12.000 specialists and helpers, according to a response from the German government to a question from the Green parliamentary group. The Greens health expert Kordula Schulz-Asche called for an emergency nursing program with 50.000 additional positions in hospitals and geriatric care, "to remedy the situation now".

In its response, first reported by the Berliner Zeitung, the Ministry of Health refers to the labor market statistics of the Federal Employment Agency. According to this, in 2017 there was a shortfall of around 15.000 geriatric nurses and about 8.000 geriatric care assistants. In addition, there are about 11.000 vacancies among nursing specialists and around 1400 more among nursing assistants.

In some cases, the ratio of vacancies to unemployed staff varies dramatically: in geriatric care, there are only 21 unemployed specialists for every 100 vacancies, according to the ministry's response. In nursing, the ratio is 100 to 41.

"The labor market for nursing staff is empty," Schulz-Asche explained. The gap between vacancies and the end of the work force is particularly wide in the large German states. In some German states, the number of nursing trainees is actually declining.

Even though the number of trainees in geriatric care is rising overall, demand on the labor market is far from being met, Schulz-Asche added. "This shows that the training support measures of recent years are not sufficient." The goal set out in the coalition agreement between the CDU/CSU and the SPD, 8.Creating 000 additional jobs in nursing does not even begin to solve the nursing shortage," she criticized.

The Green Party deputy called for an emergency nursing program with 50.000 "seriously financed" additional posts of. In addition, it would have to be made easier to return to work and to increase the number of full-time jobs.

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