Zat the end of his tenure, the chief medical officer will hit the plaster once again. The Infection Protection Act just passed in the Bundestag contains far too many small things, is being crushed within the traffic light coalition and is losing sight of the big picture, criticizes the outgoing Federal Chairman of the German Association of General Practitioners, Ulrich Weigeldt.
“I don’t give a shit if Health Minister Karl Lauterbach or Justice Minister Marco Buschmann takes a political stab,” says the doctor in an interview with the FAZ. “It is crucial that we protect people against Covid-19 as best we can, and I don’t see that .”
The detailed mask discussion – “soon we will be prescribed the color” – goes under the urgent need to comprehensively vaccinate the right people, namely old and vulnerable groups. “We need a positive vaccination campaign that gets people involved. The slogan ‘sleeves up’ is not enough.”
criticism of data protection
Many protection rules can hardly be explained because they are handled differently within Germany and even more so in the neighboring countries. “Anyone who crosses the border by train can take off their masks almost everywhere, nobody understands that.”
At the same time, data protection in Germany goes so far that the corona information is not collected systematically, but is obtained from abroad with less strict laws. “We get corona data from Israel, donor organs from Austria and nuclear power from the Czech Republic, but we don’t create any reasonable rules ourselves.”
72 years old and not a bit quiet, you could say about the controversial Bremen specialist for general medicine. But soon it will be a little quieter: Weigeldt wants to give up his office prematurely at the General Practitioners’ Day at the end of this week in Berlin, he says. That’s a year before the end of his term.
For 16 years he headed the largest professional association of resident doctors in Germany, with 30,000 members; first between 2003 and 2005 and then again since 2007. In between he was on the board of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. At his last election in 2019, which was somewhat bumpy due to internal resistance, the native of Lüdenscheid announced that he wanted to prepare a generational change and possibly resign before the end of his term of office. He is now doing this with a “well-ordered house”, as he puts it.
It is expected that he will be succeeded by his first deputy, Markus Beier. He is 20 years younger and chairman of the largest regional association in Bavaria, which traditionally enjoys preferential representation on the federal executive board. The previous second deputy Berthold Dietsche, who is not much younger than Weigeldt, could also retire.
At least one of the two vice positions that become vacant is likely to be filled by a female doctor, as general practitioners also want more women in managerial positions. So far, three of the nine members of the federal executive board have been women, with Anke Richter-Scheer from Westphalia-Lippe having the greatest influence as the third deputy. Nicola Buhlinger-Göpfarth, state chairwoman in Baden-Württemberg, where she has already replaced Dietsche, is highly regarded as a new member of the management body.
Weigeldt does not want to comment on the future composition, which is up to the 120 delegates first on Friday and then again a year later when the regular elections to the entire board are due. Weigeldt is clear about the age and gender distribution: “We have to get younger and get more into parity.”