chapter  11
12 Pages

Patient safety and clinical risk management in Germany

ByGermany MARC STAUCH

In Germany, as in the United Kingdom, there is mass health care provision based on the principle of treatment according to need, and provided more or less free at the point of delivery. Bismarck’s social reforms of the 1880s established a system of statutory health insurance funds ( Gesetzliche Krankenkassen ) for workers fi nanced partly by the employer and partly by deductions from their salary. 1 In subsequent years the scope of the system was gradually extended to other groups in society, so that nowadays virtually every citizen has health insurance cover: some 90 per cent of the population are members of one of the statutory funds, while the remainder – typically citizens on higher incomes, who are allowed to opt out of the public insurance scheme – will usually carry private insurance.