Health centers to get €115 million boost
Together with European Union funds and co-financing by applicants, around 115 million euro will be invested in primary medical care in Estonia.
"One the one hand, we will invest funds in the infrastructure of primary health care service providers or, figuratively speaking, we will update family health centers," Minister of Health and Labor Jevgeni Ossinovski said. "However, on the other hand, this is not just reconstruction of buildings but a set of larger health care policy amendment which will give family physicians' teams more force and a greater role."
The Minister said that, for example, the rights of family nurses in family physicians' teams will be extended, and the aim of the amendments is to ensure a better and higher-quality primary health service. This will increase the availability of medical care, which will hopefully translate into shorter waiting lists in hospitals.
The European Union will contribute 85 million euros to the updating of the health care infrastructure in Estonia and, together with co-financing by applicants, a total of circa 115 million euro will be invested in the primary level care until 2023, Ossinovski said.
Heathcare in Estonia is funded through the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and regulated by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The system is built on the principle of compulsory solidarity based insurance and the all-round availability of services of private service providers. All insured people have a family practitioner, who is the first contact point in case of illness. The family practitioner treats minor illnesses and, with certain exceptions, gives referrals to medical specialist, who usually charge a nominal fee for a consultation.
One of the principal problems within the current system is long waiting lists to see specialists and in hospitals. Doctors' unions have previously called for a change in the health care funding system.