For more staff, better wages, and humane healthcare! In recent years, the hospital movement has striked extensively to improve the situation of patients and employees. Find out here what role feminism plays in the fight against cost pressure and profit orientation in hospitals.
Nationwide, nurses and hospital employees have long been complaining about the significant deterioration of their working conditions in recent years. The switch to the so-called DRG (Diagnosis Related Groups) or case-based payment system for hospital funding is primarily criticized. This is because it has led to the introduction of a business logic into hospital organization.
Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG) are case groups into which patients are classified based on their diagnosis, disease complexity, and other medical conditions. Fixed rates are established for each of these groups, determining how much money hospitals receive for the treatment of patients. Depending on the case group, some treatments can be more profitable than others. If hospitals do not operate profitably under this system, they face the risk of closure or sale.
The economization of everyday hospital life is not only concerned with health as a "value" – it organizes it in a way that profits can be generated. It does so in a specific and familiar way. With the introduction of the DRG system, a new and at the same time old hierarchy of activities in nursing and obstetrics has taken place: medically-technical, time-sensitive activities such as administering medication, inserting needles or performing procedures are given greater weight. Emotional-relational activities such as listening, building trust, washing hair, or other important things that are essential for patient recovery are deemed less important.
In recent years the Berlin hospital movement initiated by Ver.di made headlines with their strikes at the two largest state-owned hospitals, Charité and Vivantes, as well as Vivantes' subsidiaries, bringing attention to the healthcare system in Berlin. Further strikes for better working conditions took place in six university clinics in North Rhine-Westphalia, marking the largest and longest strikes for better working conditions since the first strike for more staff at Charité in 2015.
In a tough but powerful struggle, employees in North Rhine-Westphalia have also succeeded in fighting for better working conditions. This means: more staff in nursing stations, for maternity care and midwives, as well as for other areas that are not directly related to patient care - yet are essential to healthcare in hospitals, such as catering or patient transportation.
The hospital strikes advocate for: more staff and relief from unbearable conditions in hospitals. And for a dignified care, in which it's not just about money, but the well-being of patients. However, this is only possible if various work processes are not played off against each other. It must be clear that all of these things are important for good care.
Text by Julia Dück. Online Editing: Alina Kopp. This post is published under the terms of the Creative Commons license CC BY 4.0 (external link, opens in a new window)! Share, use and adapt this post for your educational work. Don't forget to republish it under the same conditions and mention L!NX and the authors!
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