COVID-19: No more sick leave from June
In the course of the coronavirus pandemic, it was previously possible to get sick on the phone for respiratory complaints. From next week, however, a doctor's visit will be due again. The corresponding special regulation should not be extended - despite various objections.
The Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) has not renewed the existing special regulation for telephone sick leave (AU) for respiratory diseases in the corona crisis, reports the German Medical Gazette. This ends this possibility on May 31st. Requests by the patient representative body to extend the regulation until June 30 were rejected. From next week onwards, a visit to the doctor will be required for the sick leave.
Extension in the G-BA rejected
To protect high-risk patients, it was previously possible to receive sick leave for respiratory diseases by telephone during the corona crisis. This option should end on April 20, but after massive criticism from the medical profession and politics, the G-BA had decided to extend it until May 31. However, the G-BA rejected a further extension.
Criticism from the patient representatives
The spokeswoman for the patient representative in the subcommittee Marion Rink, who is responsible for the subject, stressed to the Deutsches Ärzteblatt that it was incomprehensible to them "why the G-BA just did not extend this special regulation and this with the general easing in the federal states and better equipping of medical practices to protect against infections. "This week, politics and science had again intensively discussed the dangers that the loosening could entail, and it was therefore decided to fundamentally continue the contact restrictions until the end of June.
Measured with a double standard
"There are two measures in favor of the employer, although the alleged abuse of the rules for sick leave by telephone has not been proven and the number of sick leave is falling again," added Marion Rink. Although medical practices are now better equipped with materials for infection protection and hygiene concepts, the abolition of the special regulation increases the risk of infection for high-risk patients during visits to the practice.
The G-BA also criticized that suggestions such as a new temporary special regulation, which would only have made it possible for sick people to be seriously chronically ill, were criticized by the G-BA. Overall, the willingness in the G-BA to tread new paths seems rather low.
High popularity for digital sick leave
However, far-reaching options such as digital sick leave are well received by the population. In a survey by the digital association Bitkoms among 1,193 people in Germany, 62 percent of those surveyed spoke in favor of sickness reports without visiting a doctor - not only by telephone, but also digitally (e.g. via email, messenger or app), reports the Deutsche Ärzteblatt . The response was similar in all age groups.
Video consultations should be available by default
Other opportunities in the medical sector also emerged from the survey. This showed great openness to telemedical offerings and 93 percent advocated expanding digital health care. According to 62 percent of those surveyed, medical advice via chat should not only be expanded now but also in the future. Furthermore, six out of ten respondents were of the opinion that video consultation hours should continue to be available as standard even after the corona crisis, reports the Deutsche Ärzteblatt. It remains to be seen to what extent some of this will be put into practice. This requires the willingness of everyone involved to break new ground in the future. (fp)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters
- Deutsches Aerzteblatt international: Telephone sick leave should end on May 31 (published May 29, 2020), aerzteblatt.de