The new medical emergency number 116 117 for the family doctor

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New nationwide emergency number for the family doctor in the evening and on weekends: 116-117

An emergency number for all cases. Until recently, what has been going on in the police and medical emergencies for years has not been guaranteed with regard to the medical emergency service. There was no uniform telephone number throughout Germany. From Monday, the emergency number 116-117 will apply throughout Germany.

From April 16, this will change and from then on, if necessary, a doctor on call can be contacted nationwide free of charge on 116-117. The new uniform emergency call for the family doctor puts an end to the confusion with countless different numbers. This is a real relief especially for seniors and mentally impaired people - they only have to remember one number.

Reaching general practitioners outside office hours The new emergency number is intended for all cases in which patients would normally see a general practitioner, but the practices are already closed. As of Monday, those affected can reach a doctor on call 116 116 at any time. So far, patients have been able to contact the medical emergency service outside of the opening hours of the practice, but not under a uniform telephone number. This has caused some confusion, so that many sufferers preferred to call 112 immediately, but this is actually only intended for acute emergencies such as a heart attack, stroke, acute abdominal pain or accidents with serious injury. In the case of conditions such as high fever, stomach cramps or diarrhea, a doctor who is on standby should be contacted instead.

Contact emergency services in the event of acute emergencies In the future, patients can contact medical help outside the opening hours of the practice (e.g. in the evening or on weekends) without the area code 116 117, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians explained in Berlin on Tuesday. The callers are automatically forwarded to the nearest doctor on standby. We organize the medical on-call service from the statutory health insurance associations together with the resident doctors, but is in no way to be equated with the emergency services. In acute emergencies, 112 remains the right number. As the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians announced, the conversion costs for setting up the new telephone number are between three and five million euros, with the costs being borne by the statutory health insurance companies.

New medical emergency number simplifies contact with the on-call service In order to prevent patients from dialing the previously valid numbers and not reaching anyone there, the old telephone number should be retained for some time and will only be completely replaced by the new emergency number 116 117 over time. The new emergency number will not start in all federal states at the same time, but will only be available in Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate some time later, for example. Overall, "with the 116-117 it will be much easier for citizens to receive outpatient medical help when the practices are closed," emphasized the Federal Government's Patient Representative, Wolfgang Zöller (CSU). The model should also apply to the whole of Europe in the future Union (EU) to be expanded, which is why the number 116 117 had already been reserved throughout Europe in 2009. (fp)

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