Closing Hospitals – To Save Life?

You can’t have enough hospitals – that’s what many people think. The nearer you live to a hospital, the faster you can get there. This film shows something different: fast is not necessarily good. Not every hospital can offer a high level of treatment in every case. And where there’s a lack of expertise, patients can suffer unnecessary complications. In the worst case, they can even die. This is happening in Germany. Every day.

For years, health experts like Prof. Reinhard Busse from Berlin’s Technical University have complained that Germany has too many hospitals: “To ensure that patients receive optimum treatment, we really have to close hospitals. Otherwise we’re endangering the health of patients.” This has also been recognised for years by health policymakers. The only thing is: no one dares do anything.

Just how dire the problem is has been revealed by a wide-ranging survey conducted for the Bertelsmann Foundation. The film has documented the emergence of this study. For the first time, independent health researchers from all over Germany have calculated just how many hospitals this country needs to provide first-class in-patient care. It’s a study that will prove provocative. In just one region of Germany, for instance, the study shows that two thirds of the existing hospitals should be closed! Not to save money but to provide patients with better treatment and to save life.

Author and director: Meike Hemschemeier // Camera: Michael Kern, Sven Kiesche, Roland Gockel  // Sound: Steven Rudi Altig, Ole Schmidt, Erik Koschnik  // Film editor: Jan Wilm Schmülling // Graphics: Andreas Hougardy // Music: Thomas Wolter // Narrator: Simon Roden // Sound mix: Alexander Weuffen // Assistants: Meik Bittkowski, Anna Schlander // Production manager: Katja Sträter // Producer: Thomas Weidenbach // Commissioning editor: Britta Windhoff // Produced by Längengrad Filmproduktion for WDR


  • YEAR 2019
  • LENGTH 45 min