Changes are underway to address the prolonged wait times for patients seeking specialised medical care within the Health System (Gesy).
The current system imposes restrictions that require patients to frequently visit specialist doctors, leading to extended waiting periods. Additionally, the operating hours of evening outpatient clinics for specific medical specialities in the public sector are set to be extended.
A comprehensive meeting was held at the Ministry of Health, led by Health Minister Popi Kanari, with participation from relevant stakeholders.
One immediate solution proposed by the Ministry of Health during the meeting involves submitting a plan to expand the hours and days of operation for evening outpatient clinics, primarily in specialities such as cardiology, nephrology, and endocrinology. This expansion aims to alleviate the backlog of patients waiting for specialist consultations.
Furthermore, the Ministry intends to grant personal doctors the authority to prescribe certain medications, such as osteoporosis-related vitamins, which patients currently require specialist referrals for. The role of personal doctors will be strengthened, with more complex and non-immediate solutions being discussed with the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) to address systemic issues within Gesy.
Minister Kanari stated: “We discussed prioritising urgent cases with personal doctors and determining the margin that must be given. Waiting lists exist in all EU systems, and we understand that the system needs improvement. It’s also a matter of patient and doctor culture, as doctors often face pressure from patients to refer them to specialists when it may not be necessary. The patient’s journey is managed by HIO in collaboration with Osak, as patients must understand that when they do not require immediate care, they should prioritise those who do. We must also provide doctors with the flexibility to designate cases as urgent when needed.”