The Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski replied to the interpellation concerning the availability of specialised medical care, and treatment cases with a happy ending (No. 389), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Monika Haukanõmm, Andres Herkel, Külliki Kübarsepp, Artur Talvik, Ain Lutsepp and Krista Aru on 25 October.
The interpellators referred to the fact that, in the following years, additional funds in the amount of 200 million euro would be directed to the budget of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund to reduce the treatment waiting lists and improve availability. The interpellators wished to know what target was planned to be reached in reducing the treatment waiting lists with the additional funds allocated, and in which specialities the treatment waiting lists were planned to be reduced or eliminated as a priority.
Ossinovski noted that the proceedings regarding the health care financing reform were in the final stage in the Riigikogu. This will enable us to direct significant additional resources to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund in the coming years. “We have said – and this is what we proceed from in the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and the Ministry of Social Affairs – that the additional funds that will amount to 34 million euro next year will be towards improvement of the availability of specialised medical care as a priority,” Ossinovski confirmed.
The minister explained that the management board of the Health Insurance Fund was the responsible body who was preparing the proposals at that moment. The supervisory board of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund has heard the provisional thoughts at its meeting on 24 November, and a more specific plan in terms of budgeting for next year should reach the board at the next board meeting to be held in mid-December. Then the board will make relevant proposals, based on what specialities have the acutest need, that is, where the problems with the waiting lists are the greatest.
In Ossinovski’s words, the standards for treatment waiting lists have been established in Estonia. “The regulation in the work instructions for family physicians sets out that family physicians must organise a consultation for patients with an acute health condition on the day when they turn to the doctor, and in other cases within five working days,” the minister explained. He added that, in specialised medical care, the supervisory board of the Health Insurance Fund had established a relevant standard, and it was six weeks in out-patient specialised medical care. The Health Insurance Fund regularly measures waiting periods, asking for a relevant report on that from specialised medical care providers. At present, the use of digital referrals is obligatory for all health care providers already, and it is possible to observe a change in waiting periods according to the data of digital referrals, calculating from the moment when the family physician issues a digital referral to a person.
“With the additional funds we will actually be able to increase, after long years, the considerable volume of the procured or bought specialised medical service bought by the Health Insurance Fund. However, the longer-term plan is more systematic, of course,” Ossinovski noted. In the minister’s words, the solution would be to set uniform targets for the primary and specialised medical care regarding the curing of people or keeping chronic diseases in control, instead of paying for as many single services as possible. In the following years, however, the reviewing of the model of funding health care will also definitely be one of the priorities in order to reduce the treatment waiting lists and to improve the availability of services.
The Minister of Defence Jüri Luik replied to the interpellation concerning shortcomings in the training of Estonian reserve officers (No. 386).
The Minister of Culture Indrek Saar replied to the interpellation concerning the “guided democracy” in the election of the director of the Estonian National Museum (No. 393).
The sitting ended at 5.18 p.m.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
Your feedback is important. Please share it with us!