Health Minister Spahn after the conference with his country colleagues on Wednesday
Peter Kneffel / dpa
After criticism of dubious mask deals and the plan to withdraw millions of useless protective masks from circulation, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) recently came under pressure from a report by the Federal Court of Auditors (BRH).
The central accusation: Spahn's ministry procured far too many masks in a disorderly process and accepted enormous expenses in the process.
The financial controllers complained, among other things, that Spahns Haus brought in "thirteen times the determined minimum requirement" and "eight times the quantities delivered to the federal states and associations of statutory health insurance physicians to date" for FFP2 masks without procurement in Germany with a quantity of one billion have.
Nonetheless, the auditors believe Spahn to be credited with the fact that the task was very difficult in the peak of the pandemic.
Spahn himself also sees himself relieved by the particularly tense situation on the world market in spring 2020.
"Yes, it's true: in this emergency we actually had to act unconventionally," said the minister, according to the dpa news agency, at a meeting of the private health insurance association.
At the time, university clinics feared having to cease operations due to missing masks, said Spahn.
His ministry has therefore tried everything in various ways "and paid a lot, that's true".
As a lesson, it is now important to see that it does not come back like this again, said Spahn.
In a statement, the ministry justifies the procedure with the "enormous global need" for corona protective masks.
“In this situation, it was completely unclear whether and how the demand could be met.
This made it all the more important to act quickly, decisively and unbureaucratically, ”said the ministry.
Ministry refers to external consultants and other departments
At the same time, Spahn's house tries to distribute the responsibility for the procurement of masks on other shoulders.
With the »determination of requirements and control of the procurement quantities« one was supported, for example, by the »expertise of an auditing company«.
In addition, other ministries were also involved in the assessment of needs.
"Overall, the number of protective masks actually ordered for the acute pandemic fight is in the order of magnitude of the identified need for six months," said the ministry.
Spahn's house also defends itself against the BRH's allegation that the ministry has not sufficiently documented the mask deals.
When procuring medical equipment, all "documents were compiled completely and transparently for a third party and stored as physical files as well as in digital form."
fek / mfh / dpa