Hospital Association Proposes Move to Make Specialist Referrals Easier
The Hospital Association has urged that nurses be given the right to refer patients to specialists. Under changes being contemplated, patients who want to bypass their GP and independently seek an appointment with a specialist would not be covered by national health insurance.
The association submitted proposals for amendments to the Health Insurance Act to the Social Affairs Minister today.
"We believe that contemporary health care system is more than just the patient-doctor relationship," Hospital Association management board member Urmas Sule said in a press release. "Nurses and midwives who independently provide care have an increasing role." He said patient trust is greater in these professions.
"Chronically ill patients are already now tended to in large part by nurses and we see nurses with up-to-date training being capable of deciding whether a patient needs an appointment with a specialist."