Dhe emergency services in Germany are sounding the alarm: emergency care could soon collapse if fundamental reforms are not implemented soon, they warn. The tragic death of a girl shows what that would mean: the 15-year-old was fatally injured in a serious bus accident in Berlin on December 10th. According to the Berlin fire brigade, it took twenty minutes for an ambulance to arrive – too long for a rescue. The reason: When the emergency call came in, there were no ambulances available anywhere in Berlin.
The Berlin incident is just the tip of the iceberg. “Because he appeared on public transport, he attracted a lot of attention,” says Marco König, chairman of the German professional association for rescue services and emergency paramedics (DBRD) at the professional fire brigade in Lübeck. “On the other hand, what is happening in the living rooms here is rarely made public.” According to König, there is a major reason why the paramedics are so overworked. “We are doing fewer and fewer emergency rescues, but are increasingly being called out for trifles and also have to take on activities that are actually not in our area of responsibility,” says the DBRD chairman.