The Upper Silesian Miners' Hospitals
The Upper Silesian mining community was provided with health care from the mid-nineteenth century onwards through an extensive hospital system of the Upper Silesian Miners' Insurance Association which was unique in Germany. The gap between outpatient and inpatient health care, which is often criticised in today's socio-political discussions, was bridged by the fact that the Association's Statutes more or less obliged their members to go to the so-called miners' hospitals for treatment if they were ill. By 1914 the Association had set up 17 general hospitals in the Upper Silesian industrial region where about 70 % of the miners who were unfit for work were treated, the others were treated as outpatients by the district doctors who were employed by the Miners' Insurance Association.
The Upper Silesian Miners' hospitals are part of the economic and social history of Silesia. As far as the author knows, they have not yet been dealt with in recent literature. This is most certainly also partly due to the fact that there is very little information available on them. Therefore, the following article describes the most important facilities which were in place at the beginning of the 20th century. A brief outline of the development of the Upper Silesian Miners' Insurance is also included.