Country Correspondent: Michael Laxy
The German state of Hesse has approached the shortage of general practitioners (GPs) in rural areas with an innovative pilot. Around 170 GP positions are currently unfilled in Hesse; in some areas, just three GPs are responsible for more than 8,000 patients. In this pilot, initiated by the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, patients are served in a mobile GP center known as a “medibus.” The bus is equipped with a driver, a GP, and two nurses and visits six rural villages, four days a week. As other measures such as financial incentives have thus far had little effect in attracting GPs to practice in rural areas, the medibus model could be a potential solution to shortages.