This is how the change of general practitioner works

The family doctor's office is the first port of call for many health problems. Photo: Benjamin Ulmer/dpa/dpa-tmn

Berlin Many never change, some regularly. This applies not only to insurance companies, but also to the family doctor. This is hardly surprising. Because such a decision is associated with many questions.

By Angelika Mayr, dpa

Sometimes it is time to change the GP. Whether the reason for it is a removal, differences of opinion or missing sympathy, does not play a role. "In Germany, everyone has the right to choose their own doctor," says Roland Stahl, spokesman for the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV). "This means that everyone is allowed to change doctors, regardless of whether they have statutory or private insurance."One does not have to give a reason for it. Private patients may always. Change without notice period. Legally insured persons may also look for a doctor at any time among the established general practitioners participating in the contractual medical care, explains Anja Lehmann, legal advisor at the Independent Patient Counseling Germany (UPD).

"During this period, the patient can only change the family doctor if there is an important reason such as a move of the insured or the doctor's office," says the expert.

When confidence is lacking

And otherwise? "In principle, it is advisable not to change doctors during an ongoing treatment," advises KBV spokesman Stahl.

But: "The doctor-patient relationship depends on a special relationship of trust, and the success of a treatment also depends on respectful and open cooperation," says Stahl. If this is no longer a given, it is better to look for a new practice.

Remember the patient file

When changing doctors, it is important that the new doctor gets all the necessary information from the patient. That's why the patient should get a copy of his complete patient file from his old doctor. "To it the physician is legally obligated , says UPD Beraterin Lehmann. "However, the patient does not have a right to the original file, as the doctor must keep the file for ten years after the treatment has been completed."

Finding the new practice

One problem with changing GP practices is that a new one is not always found straight away. "Many are so busy that they no longer accept new patients," says Lehmann. Especially in rural areas, he says, that's the case.

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