SPIEGEL: Mr. Lauterbach, on Thursday by two members of Parliament a bout of weakness in the chamber suffered. They were, in both cases, first responders. Is this unusual?
Lauterbach: Yes, that was not the first Time that I emergencies in the Bundestag dealt with have. Member of Parliament suffer from a strong strain that has a negative impact on health. To me, as a doctor, and many colleagues, in trust, with cross-party support. And what I see Worries me.
MIRROR: What makes your Job so harmful?
Lauterbach: It is the combination of mental stress, lack of exercise, and chronic lack of sleep: The work days usually start in the morning to eight p.m. and often after midnight. Breaks are usually scheduled during the lunch, the members for the next session prepare. Also in the meeting-free weeks, it is not better. Since the deputies have to provide their constituencies, they have to stand in the press and on your Social Media channels and typically a lot of travel. Government members come in, as a rule, from 70 to 90 hours of work per week. For the members in the Opposition, it is not quite as bad.
MIRROR: Just chronic lack of sleep and constant stress can lead to psychosomatic Suffering. Should there not tip over regularly to someone?
Lauterbach: lack of sleep leads to the fact that a person is more prone to infections is. Two hours less sleep lead to a duplicate probability of getting a cold. Is now member of the Bundestag does not cure as a rule, but drag themselves to work anyway. The sleep-deprived colleagues sit and be plugged in. Many of my colleagues are cold in the Winter time.
MIRROR: A vicious circle or so.
Lauterbach: Yes. And many do not know that there is a permanent lack of sleep, less than seven hours can have consequences, per night late, such as for example high blood pressure. It is also an important risk factor for dementia. In sleep the glymphatische System is stimulated, which is for the disposal of waste substances in the brain responsible. If we don’t sleep enough, is disturbed by this function – this can result in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
MIRROR: you sit for around 15 years for the SPD in the German Bundestag. Do not be afraid of the health risks?
Lauterbach: The longer it is, the more experience one has, too – then it goes with lots of things to be more relaxed to. Me personally it does not bother so much, that my profession is unhealthy. I’m trying to integrate and to Sport in my life. Of course, this is just to impossible times: I play, for example, late in the evening table tennis with my training partner.
SPIEGEL: Now, one could accuse you that your Job or even chosen to have.
Lauterbach: I can see That, too. We members of Parliament are not the Only ones who have such a work load. Every business consultant knows probably. With the difference: business consultants only work for a few years so, similar to a top athlete. However, there are many members who’ve been doing this for decades, such as Wolfgang Schäuble. For him to have a disability even more and add be by now a relatively old age. You can take this high load for a couple of years, but in the long run is very harmful.
SPIEGEL: Should the state so just the members and their health to better protect?
Lauterbach: My criticism is not that I live a healthier life want to, but I want us to work better make can. To me it is not a Lifestyle optimisation of the members, but so that we could deliver a better quality, if we were organized differently.
MIRROR: What do you mean?
Lauterbach: I am of the opinion that we, the Parliament again, so the rebuild would have to that rule is the size, and that we debate on 23 at limit. No one is in a position to meet after a 15-hour working day and important decisions. This is exactly what happens, but often. Many of the members have also the feeling to be always ill-prepared, because they simply have no time. I observe that it has increased the Tempo in the last few years immensely. This is a development I get with my US colleagues.
MIRROR: If that is a universal development seems to be – how do you want to just back in politics more slowness to introduce?
Lauterbach: We should unnecessary debate and let us focus on the Essential. As of yesterday Matthias Hauer suffered a bout of weakness, it was, for example, that the cash should not be abolished in Germany – a contribution to the AfD. Only thing: no-one has claimed before that a cash ban. However, we have to deal with all of us with the request of the AfD, us incorporation, committees sitting debates are artificially drawn in the length. The AfD is now the champion of the world, to steal the Bundestag with superfluous debates of the time.
MIRROR: Would the deputies so to be healthier, if the AfD is not in the Bundestag would sit?
Lauterbach: In any case, we can say that the health burden is higher has become, since the AfD in the Bundestag is sitting.