Doctors in Germany will soon be able to grant sick leave via video

Doctors in Germany will soon be able to grant sick leave via video

In future, doctors in Germany will be allowed to grant sick leave via video. No date has been set for when the new rule will be put in place.

No more trips to the doctors?

Last Thursday, Germany’s Federal Joint Committee (Gemeinsame Bundesausschuss) agreed that, in future, anyone with statutory health insurance will be able to be granted sick leave by their doctor via video consultation. However, no exact date has been set for when the new ruling will be put in place.

There are, inevitably, a few stipulations that must be met before a sick note can be issued. First, the patient must be known to the awarding doctor or at least have visited their practice before. They must also be able to be diagnosed via a video call, without the need for a personal examination. Once sick leave has been granted, the patient will only be able to take up to seven days off, following the first consultation.

The committee ruled that sick leave can only be granted through video consultation, and not through other forms of communication such as phone or instant chat. “The standard for determining an Arbeitsunfähigkeit [incapacity to work] continues to be an immediate personal examination by a doctor," said committee member Monika Lelgemann. "In individual cases, however, it should be possible to determine this via video consultation.”

To ensure that doctors are able to transmit their decision to employers and insurance companies, all sick notes will be digitised from January 1, 2021.

Revolutionising the healthcare system

The committee announced that the new ruling was put forward independent of the current coronavirus situation, although the pandemic has given rise to several options aimed at reducing the spread of the virus and easing the pressure on the healthcare system.

Since March, patients have been able to get sick leave without visiting a doctor, although this regulation expired at the end of May. Doctors and patients alike have also become a lot more receptive to the idea of video consultations.

According to a study, 45 percent of German are now open to the idea of having a consultation via video, up from 30 percent last May. Similarly, over 50 percent of doctors in Germany have said they are now offering patients the option to have video consultations.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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