Seriously ill, and left alone: therapists deficiency endangers human life

In Germany, patients wait an average of 20 weeks to the beginning of a psychotherapy. It would be faster, if to the degree would be distributed – says the Minister of health Spahn. Or if there are more psychotherapists would get an approval – says your professional representation.

Actually, it’s not a bad message, that there are more and more diagnoses of a mental illness. It shows that the Stigma of “mentally ill” is weaker, and the Germans are now ready to go also with psychological problems to the doctor. The Problem is that many help seekers get an appointment for a therapy – at least not quickly.

In outpatient psychotherapy, the waiting time for treatment is an average of five months. In large cities with lots of therapy, surgeries, sick people waiting mentally, however, are significantly shorter than elsewhere. In Berlin there are about 13.4 weeks, in the Saarland, in contrast, is 23.6 weeks.

The long wait for a treatment space, means for psychologically troubled people an additional risk: In the weeks and months can worsen a disease significantly, a Depression even life-threatening.

There are enough therapists, but it is the Fund authorization is missing

The Problem, however, is not that there are too few psychotherapists. It is not only by far a licensed. In addition, the Federal Joint Committee (g-BA) decides on Doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies. The “demand planning” for psychotherapists, and dates from the year 1999, which corresponds to today’s requirements in no way. Without Fund approval, a therapist can only treat private patients and self-payers – which for many is prohibitive.

Matthias Bachmann is a psychotherapist in an area with very slim supply, and he gets the lack of day-to-day. In his practice, in Eberswalde, a 40,000-inhabitant town in the North-East of Brandenburg, “every Morning, up to ten calls of aid on the answering machine. I sometimes like to listen to the tape, because I can do most anything.“ The therapy seats are filled on months. But if someone is particularly ill, he tried a therapist, it can be slotted in. “For a lunch break in no time anyway.”

The Minister of health Spahn in the framework of the new appointment service and supply act (TSVG) and the reduction of the waiting times for psychotherapy. He will, therefore, leave the patient seeking psychotherapy from an expert survey, which evaluates the urgency of the treatment. Who should assess and how the process of “staged and controlled” therapy assignment would be, is unclear.

Spahns draft law builds barriers for people in mental Distress

The Federal chamber of psychotherapists (BPtK) warns, however, before the new additional hurdle for patients. And she is not alone in their rejection. A Petition against this part of the law has already collected 190.000 signatures. “We reject this draft strictly. It can’t be that Sufferers have to cope with mental illness an obstacle course in order to receive therapy,“ says Waltraud Rinke, Chairman of the German depression League.

The Minister of health Spahn has shown a willingness to compromise. “I do not exclude that we will find other arrangements,” he said recently in the ARD morning magazine. In January, a solution should be found.

Each practice must offer office hours for Brief consultations

Psychotherapists see the “initial evaluation” of a mental problem already given in April 2017 installed “therapeutic consultation”. The Patient should get an appointment on short notice and then at a maximum of three 50-minute sessions a diagnosis and, if necessary, the recommendation for further therapy.

The Problem: When psychotherapy is recommended, but not an acute hazard, and the therapist has no capacity, often begins a months-long wait for a treatment place. Every third patient of such a consultation is as an evaluation of 240,000 health insurance companies, showed the data.

Matthias Bachmann from Eberswalde awards to the mandatory office hours even more, if one of his patients goes down. “People are incredibly happy and grateful, if you get even an appointment for a consultation and advice. But at least half I need to send them away.“

Patients know what is missing – on the therapy, you will have to wait

“The psycho-therapeutic consultation has meant that patients can now learn more quickly whether you need treatment,” says BPtK-President of Munz. “But mentally ill people should not have to wait months to be treated.”

Our proposal for a faster therapy access is: As an immediate program 1500 psychotherapists would have to be approved, especially outside of large cities. “These trained therapists are there in Germany, Yes,” says BPtK-President Dietrich Munz. “They only seat, no Cash. That is, your practice cannot settle with the doctor.“

1500 new psychotherapists could get started immediately

The immediate increase of the urgently needed 1500 psychotherapists would be expected according to the BPtK even: “In 2017, the funds paid three-billion-Euro sickness benefit due to mental sick-leave. The cost for the additional psychotherapists would amount to only € 150 million.“

Also in better supply there is, of course, continue to be mental disorders. “You could, however, prevent the worsening of a problem that often during the long waiting time occurs on a therapy.” And also sick days reduce. That is because anyone Who is mentally ill, is missing, also particularly long: the 34.7 days on average, according to the DAK Report for 2017.