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Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach

Photo: Hannibal Hanschke / EPA

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wants to better equip the German healthcare system against crises and military conflicts.

Germany must not only prepare itself better for future pandemics, but also "for major disasters and possible military conflicts," the SPD politician told the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung" on Saturday.

In Germany there is "a loophole in the law that we are addressing in order to be prepared for a disaster or even a military alliance - as unlikely as it is."

Lauterbach announced a corresponding draft law for the summer.

"It would be silly to say that we are not preparing for a military conflict and then it won't come," said Lauterbach when asked whether he feared being accused of scaremongering.

»According to the logic, there would be no need for a Bundeswehr.

Doing nothing is not an option.«

In response to the corona pandemic, the traffic light coalition had already agreed to better equip the structures of the health system for major crises.

“After the criminal Russian attack on Ukraine, this challenge has unfortunately become more important,” said Lauterbach.

A “turning point for the healthcare system” is necessary – if only because Germany could become a hub for the care of injured and wounded people from other countries if an alliance were to take place.

Germany has already taken in almost a thousand seriously injured people from Ukraine for treatment - more than any other European country, said the minister.

Lauterbach described the contours of the law as follows: “In the event of a crisis, every doctor, every hospital, every health authority must know what to do.

We need clear responsibilities - for example for distributing a large number of injured people to the clinics in Germany.

The reporting channels and the options for transferring patients throughout Germany must also be clear.

The current stockpiling regulations were also not sufficient.

In the event of a crisis, the deployment and distribution of medical personnel must be clarified.

»And all of this has to be practiced.«