Frankfurt, Germany

Every Person’s Health

Stadt Frankfurt am Main

April 23, 2018

Providing health services to all residents, regardless of status, through humanitarian consultation hours

Being ‘undocumented’ often means being excluded from access to medical care and healthcare systems. For irregular migrants, fear of being identified, arrested or deported can be life threatening in an emergency situation, when disease or infirmity goes untreated, or is treated too late. In recognition of the increasing reality of this humanitarian catastrophe in the making, a growing number of cities are developing strategies to ensure the medical officer’s ‘duty of care’ can be legally and responsibly extended to all residents.
Since 2001, the city of Frankfurt’s Health Dept. and Women’s Dept. have collaborated with a local NGO to provide medical consultation and treatment through a clinic offering ‘Humanitarian Consultation Hours’ (Humanitäre Sprechstunde). Care is provided anonymously (to men and women) and without charge except where patients are able to pay. Language support is available for non-German speakers, and special hours are set aside for children’s healthcare needs.

The ‘Frankfurt Model’ has been influential in other German cities such as Bremen, Düsseldorf and Munich. New initiatives like the “anonymous health card” are being piloted nationally, and the German Medical Association has published guidance for medical practitioners on treating “Patients without Legal Residence Status in Hospitals and Practices” that addresses sensitive issues of medical confidentiality vis-à-vis the social welfare offices

and immigration authorities, and reimbursement.

Full Good Idea Coming soon!