On November 16, 2020, the latest edition of our UMCH lecture series ReachHigher took place – this time with plastic surgeon Dr. Sixtus Allert. His lecture dealt with the complex interactions between our local health care system and the numerous interest groups that influence it.
A simple and precise answer to the somewhat provocatively asked question from the title of the event – “Does the health industry ruin health? – the UMCH students certainly did not receive. Instead the chief physician of the Clinic for Plastic, Aesthetic and Hand Surgery of the Sana Klinikum Hameln-Pyrmont, whose medical director he has also been since 2009, discussed his view of past and current developments and the status quo of the German healthcare system. He provided the participating students with a picture of how many interested parties have an influence on the supposedly simple relationship between medical professionals and the patients to be cared for. There is a highly complex network of interest groups such as medical associations, political parties, hospital operators, health ministries and the pharmaceutical industry – to name just a fraction. After all, the healthcare industry is a business worth around 400 billion euros. According to Dr. Allert, it poses a serious threat to the healthcare system as it currently exists in Germany. At the same time, however, the health care industry also affects the healthcare system – and vice versa.
Despite the critical and sometimes even self-critical tenor that Dr. Allert suggested in his presentation, he did not convey an overly negative picture of the future of our healthcare system, which, however, would have to change significantly in order to remain sustainable and competitive. This was also evident in the discussion that followed, in which the UMCH students asked thoughtful questions that were answered by the ReachHigher speaker in a differentiated and competent manner.