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After more than 20 years, the CDU is back in Berlin: what lies ahead for the capital in terms of health policy?

The repeat election for the 19th Berlin House of Representatives in February 2023 reshuffled the cards. With 28.2% of the votes, the CDU achieved its best result in more than 20 years, questioning the continuance of the red-red-green government coalition consisting of the SPD, the Left and the Greens. Meanwhile, the SPD suffered a record loss, securing only 18.4% of the votes. Although a renewed red-red-green coalition would have been possible, the SPD and CDU joined forces to form a grand coalition. This will make Kai Wegner the first Christian Democratic mayor of Berlin in over 20 years.

As a public affairs company with a special focus on health policy, we would like to provide an insight into the health policy plans of the new government coalition. The joint coalition contract and the distribution of ministries were presented in the beginning of April. The CDU will be responsible for finance, culture, justice and consumer protection, education, youth and family, as well as environment, mobility and climate protection. The SPD, on the other hand, will be responsible for urban planning, building and housing, economy, home affairs and sports, health, science and care as well as labour, social affairs and anti-discrimination.

The preamble of the coalition contract states: “supporting the cultural industries, the creative industries, the health industry and the sports metropolis Berlin are essential for us.” In addition to improving the working conditions of nursing staff, the expansion of medical care by hospitals and their financial resources will be the focus. The two state-owned hospital groups Charité and Vivantes play a special role in this. The coalition wants to do more justice to its ownership responsibility and support both hospitals in their development and expand and promote cooperation with each other, but also with business partners and non-university institutions. Meanwhile, the federal government’s planned hospital structure reform, which will bring about significant changes in health care, is causing concern. The fear is that it could lead to restrictions in care. For this reason, the Berlin senate wants to work for appropriate framework conditions on a federal level. This also includes the development of complementary outpatient structures that meet the needs.

Berlin’s role as a research and business location for health is also discussed. The coalition aims to make the city a leading biotech location that combines top international research and good care. Together with Brandenburg, a future region for the health industry is to be created, which will at the same time be a global hotspot for novel therapies and support research projects on women’s health in particular. The promotion of start-ups and other enterprises is to take place through simplified administrative processes and the expansion of digitalisation. The latter is to be given a data protection-secure framework with the inclusion of digital offers such as the electronic patient file, telemonitoring and telehealth solutions and enable the establishment of a joint health data platform.

It remains to be seen whether and to what extent the numerous plans of the new state government can be implemented. There are about three years until the next elections in 2026 for the new coalition to prove itself. Then the voters will decide whether they are satisfied with the results or not.

RPP will continue to follow developments in Berlin. If you have any questions on this topic, please feel free to contact us at any time.

Emre Uzuner

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