[Health Care in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from the Patients' View: A Survey of Petitions Sent to the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED)].Gesundheitswesen. 2016 May; 78(5):285-9.G
The aim of this paper is to explore the patients' view of the health system in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the 1980 s. It investigates how patients experienced everyday medical care in the GDR beyond the ideals of official health policy.
A systematic analysis of patients' written petitions to the Central Committee of the Socialist Party in the GDR was undertaken.
Patients articulated their experiences and expectations quite critically, using characteristic patterns of argumentation and, at times, successfully exerting pressure on the regime to answer their demands. Conflicts concerning disability pensions, factual or putative malpractice and complaints about run-down health facilities belong to the issues most frequently addressed. Persons who mentioned their membership in the Socialist Party had better chances to get their problems solved than those who did not disclose any affiliation to the Socialist Party.
The petitions surveyed in this study provide insight into the lives of patients in the late GDR. Patients made particular demands of the socialist state and its health system. It is important to integrate the patients' perspective into historical research on medical care in the GDR.