University clinic board member doesn’t see future for obstetric care in Põlva, Valga ({{commentsTotal}})

Chief Doctor Andres Sell and Latvian OB/GYN Erika Kasha at Valga Hospital on the Estonian-Latvian border. Jan. 20, 2011. Source: (Mihkel Maripuu/Postimees/Scanpix)

According to Tartu University Clinic (TÜK) Executive Board member Mart Einasto, the number of births in Valga and Põlva has long since been too low to continue providing obstetric care at their hospitals. Both hospitals are at risk of losing 24-hour emergency care as well.

Speaking at the clinic’s spring conference, Einasto stated that more serious discussions were taking place at the clinic involving painful subjects regarding Valga and Põlva Hospitals, including whether or not they should continue offering obstetric care and general surgery, reported medical news site Med24 (site in Estonian).

“I have had to be the bearer of this unpopular news that according to our vision, things cannot continue as they currently are,” said Einasto. “Births have long since fallen below any kind of critical number.”

According to the clinic’s board member, this meant too few due to both financial and quality-related reasons. He noted that the public always unequivocally interprets such news as a very negative decision, and that it is difficult to respond to that with anything.

Einasto added that another subject currently being debated was the offering of 24-hour emergency care in Valga and Põlva, Southern Estonian towns with populations of just over 12,200 and 6,500 respectively.

“There aren’t even enough emergency medical doctors for bigger [population] centers,” he claimed. “In smaller areas, there should be doctors with very broad profiles — for example doctors of internal medicine and general surgeons with broad profiles. Even better would be [someone] with the combined skills of both, but there aren’t many such [doctors] entering the job market.”

Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik

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