In addition to waiting for medical treatments in hospitals, Croatians could soon start waiting for their family physicians to see them as well.
Overworked family medicine physicians have decided to introduce waiting lists. They have defined emergencies which would allow patients to be seen by a doctor immediately, however all others will have to wait a few days to see their physicians, reports HRT on August 18, 2016.
The physicians claim they see more than a hundred patients a day and that they cannot devote enough time to each of them. They want to limit the number of patients to 35 a day, so that each exam can last 20 minutes on average. They claim that the current situation means that their work process is threatened and that the quality of their services is becoming questionable. The lack of doctors, vacations, sick physicians, waiting rooms full of nervous patients – that is an everyday sight at family physicians’ offices. One physician claims that during a recent day she had as many as 206 patients. That is the reason why the Association of Family Medicine Physicians demands changes.
While supporting the relief of administrative burden which is currently placed on physicians, Health Minister Dario Nakić does not support the introduction of waiting lists or the “20 minutes per patient” principle. He believes that each patient should be given as much time as necessary, which is sometimes more than 20 minutes. The Patients’ Association supports the Minister’s position.
Everybody agrees it is not acceptable for a physician to feel drained after their shift is over, because the next day they cannot properly do their job. One thing is certain – there are too few physicians and too many patients. On the other hand, there are many physicians who reach the age when they have to retire, although many of them would like to continue working.
The other problem is the fact that many physicians are leaving Croatia and going abroad, where salaries and benefits are much higher than in Croatia. Therefore, the Croatian Association of Hospital Doctors has sent a letter to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in which it appealed to the President to use her political influence to create conditions so that physicians can stay in Croatia.