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Saturday 22nd October 2016

German nurses now anaesthetise

28th March 2007

A chain of private hospitals in Germany has come under fire for training up nurses to administer anaesthetic, meaning that they can act partly in substitute for fully trained anaesthetists.

The company, Helios Kliniken, has already lost one patient to brain damage during an operation, although it denies any link to the new policy. It will also ensure a doctor is present at the beginning and the end of anaesthesia.

Professor Hugo Van Aken, president of the German Society of Anaesthesiologists, said anaesthesia was always a dangerous procedure which should be conducted by a responsible doctor.

The issue touches on an increasingly widespread tendency in German healthcare to train nurses to substitute for doctors, both to save money, and to make specialisms like surgery, where young talent is getting scarce, more attractive to new recruits.

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