Ricardo Lange Krankenpfleger, Intensivpfleger, Ricardo Lange arbeitet in einem Krankenhaus in Berlin - das Krankenhaus soll nicht genannt werden. Foto: Doris Spiekermann-Klaas

“What does overload mean?” Asked intensive care nurse Ricardo Lange in the ARD program “Anne Will” the Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) on Sunday evening. Talk host Anne Will had her guests discuss the balance sheet of the Corona policy in the Federal Republic and asked the question “Is Germany better prepared for the next wave?”

In addition to Lange and Lauterbach, Christine Aschenbach-Dugnus, parliamentary director of the FDP and member of the health committee, and science journalist Christina Berndt were also on the stage. But above all the two male talk guests delivered an emotional exchange of blows.

Self-government, telematics, Morbi-RSA: The briefing on health

Intensive care nurse Lange stated in a lengthy monologue that Germany was not prepared for the corona wave next autumn because the core problem – the lack of staff in hospitals – was not being solved. Lauterbach and the Corona policy of the federal government – including the former – do not come off well.

“Would you say the health system and intensive care units are overwhelmed when people die due to staff shortages?” asked Intensive Care Nurse Lange in the direction of the Minister of Health. “Would you say that an intensive care unit is overloaded if the staff collapses crying in the corridors?” Lauterbach hardly gets a word, but replies: “Of course it’s all overloaded.”

The Minister of Health defends himself against the accusation that not enough is being done about the shortage of nursing staff. In the past legislative period, he himself campaigned to ensure that “you can no longer make a profit by cutting back on nursing staff”. That was the reason why the nursing staff were reduced for many years. “It seems slow now.”

The problem of overloading has existed for years – not just since the pandemic – Lange counters. Corona would have exacerbated the problem, but according to the intensive care nurse, the reaction was: “Okay, we always go into this autumn wave unprepared and everyone is shocked: Oh God, we don’t have any nursing staff at all!” But he misses an effective reaction to the shortage of staff by the federal government. “What are you waiting for?”

“I haven’t been in office that long,” Lauterbach defends himself. Before the summer break, he wants to present the cornerstones of a law that will improve the situation for care workers.

The federal government’s corona protection measures are also not doing well. In the show, Lauterbach had not ruled out that there would be school closures again in the fall. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (also SPD) and Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) had ruled out such a measure last week.

“Whenever fundamental rights are encroached upon, one must – according to my understanding of the law – ensure that the means are suitable and also (choose) the mildest variant,” criticizes intensive care nurse Ricardo Lange the federal government.