Within the next ten years, there will be deficiencies in healthcare provision in parts of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. This is the conclusion reached by Ulrike Siewert of Greifswald University and her coauthors in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2010; 107: 328-34). They emphasize that similar trends can be expected in other German federal states.
The demographic transition leads to an increase in the diseases typical of age. The authors forecast the increases in specific diseases in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and assess how well the German healthcare system is prepared for the expected changes. They estimate that cases of dementia will increase by up to 91% and cases of colon cancer by about 30%.
In spite of decreases in population, this development means that more medical care will be required. As the numbers of physicians are decreasing throughout rural areas of Germany, healthcare provision is uneven in different regions. This is aggravated by the fact that current health care planning is based on population figures and neglect regional differences in the developments.