New protests over lack of funding for…

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Berlin – Once again students of clinical psychology and psychotherapy, representatives of professional and specialized associations and the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists (BPtK) and state chambers to demand adequate funding for ongoing training in psychotherapy. Today they presented their demands in large numbers before the German Bundestag.

“We have already organized so many activities – we are running out of time. If additional training to become a specialist psychotherapist is not funded, there will be no additional training,” said Felix Kiunke, newly licensed psychotherapist and petitioner of the successful petition for adequate funding of psychotherapeutic training. “I could start my studies now, if they existed,” says Kiunke.

The two students Dajana Eder and Vreni Feldmann will complete their master’s degree in spring next year and “don’t know what will happen next”. “We demand salaries in line with the ongoing training rate and we don’t want to have to pay for theory, personal experience and supervision ourselves.”

Luisa Baier, psychology student in the 6th semester of her bachelor’s degree, reported that “I and many others have great fears about the future”. “Many people think twice about whether to do a master’s degree because subsequent training is very uncertain.”

She described the passages on psychotherapeutic training in the current cabinet draft of the Law on Strengthening Healthcare (GVSG) as “bold and irrational”.

“It’s a shame that we now have to fight so hard to fund continuing training,” said Andrea Benecke, president of BPtK. “The reform of psychotherapeutic training was decided five years ago, but there were no regulations for funding – this is now falling to us.” It is essential to avoid a shortage of qualified workers, Benecke demanded.

“A survey showed that more than 2,000 psychotherapy practices offer additional outpatient training. But they can’t because there are no legal regulations for financing – that’s unprecedented!” explained Barbara Lubisch, Federal Vice President of the German Association of Psychotherapists (DPTV).

“If we do not guarantee adequate funding for ongoing training now, then we will not be looking after our children’s future – but children and young people have the right to mental health!”, said child and adolescent psychotherapist Ariadne Sartorius, from the Center . Federal Association of Contractual Psychotherapists (bvvp) towards politics.

Kirsten Kappert-Gonther (Bündnis90/The Greens), acting chairwoman of the health committee of the German Bundestag, appeared alongside the psychotherapists. “Multiple crises have put pressure on the soul, but we already have a support system that can no longer take into account the increase in mentally ill people. This is also becoming a growing problem for democracy.”

Therefore, the shortage of qualified psychotherapy workers must be avoided at all costs, the politician said. The current bill of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) described this as “making the situation worse.”

Since September 2020 there has been a new qualification path for psychotherapists. It consists of a university degree in clinical psychology and psychotherapy with the possibility of licensing and subsequent ongoing training to become a specialist psychotherapist. The structure of the new continuous training is based on medical training.

During ongoing training, participants are entitled to an adequate salary. It is not yet clear how this salary will be financed, especially in the outpatient sector. Practices, university outpatient clinics and future continuing education institutes depend on funding regulations with regard to the creation of positions. The urgent need for action has already been highlighted in 2023 with a successful Bundestag petition to fund further training in psychotherapy. The petition has been forwarded to the federal government for action.

In the GVSG cabinet draft of May 22, a regulation was included to finance continuing education, but this only includes the refinancing of billable care services of psychotherapists employed in continuing education. According to the GVSG, when outpatient clinics negotiate with health insurers the value of remuneration for these care services, the operational costs required by outpatient clinics to implement additional training must not expressly be taken into account.

After the release of the bill, the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists highlighted that it would not be able to pay adequate salaries in outpatient continuing education and at the same time finance the necessary continuing training elements, such as theory, personal experience and supervision.

Furthermore, the necessary need for new training locations can only be ensured if, in addition to outpatient clinics, offices, clinics and institutional facilities also provide adequate capabilities. The draft GVSG cabinet does not provide for any regulations for the latter. © PB/aerzteblatt.de

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