Scheduled treatment at private and dental clinics has been suspended by the Health Board (Terviseamet) in response to the spread of coronavirus. Private clinics and dentists will from now on only be providing emergency care. The move also helps to conserve protective equipment during the pandemic, the Health Board says. Doctors and medical personnel in the private sector may also need to be drafted in to help as the burden on the healthcare system grows.
"Halting scheduled treatment is necessary to prevent the further spread of the infection, to ensure the safety of emergency care and to use the available personal protective equipment as economically as possible," said Merike Jürilo, Director General of the Health Board.
"At the same time, we may need the help of doctors and nurses working in private medicine, as the health burden increases and labor shortages occur."
Completion of elective treatment that has already begun is to be decided by the physician and patient on a case-by-case basis. It is imperative to complete planned activities whose interruption would endanger human health, the Health Board added.
"Because of the very high risk of infection with COVID-19, risk has to be minimized. It was necessary therefore to take steps in the interest of public health, to postpone scheduled treatment and provide only emergency care," said Piret Väli, head of the Estonian Dental Association (Hambaarstide Liit).
"The more radical the steps at the moment, the quicker we will stop the virus from spreading. Many other European countries have done the same."
"This is an emergency decision taken amid the current crisis situation. We want to resume scheduled treatment as soon as the epidemiological situation allows it," Merike Jürilo added.
Each medical treatment institution is to inform and advise its patients about the suspension of planned treatment.
The Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) site is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte