The emergency situation has given hospitals a chance to see how many of the patients coming to the emergency rooms (ER) actually have issues which need to be dealt with immediately. In March, the number of patients coming to an ER decreased by one-third, meaning by 12,000 patients, daily Õhtuleht writes.
Märt Põlluvee, Head of the Emergency Medicine at the second biggest ER in Estonia, at the East-Tallinn Central Hospital (ITK)l, told Õhtuleht that the overall number of patients has decreased by between 1.9 and 2.7 times.
While last year, 3,126 went to the ITK ER in the first half of April, this year the figure is only 1,242 patients.
This fall was partly due to a rationalization of whether a patient really required ER treatment on the part of the public, he added.
"The decline is expected because we already knew earlier that about 10-12 percent of patients turning to the ITK are really in an emergency," Põlluveer said.
Põlluveer said authorities know that about one-third of the patients who came to the hospital last year were suffering with serious conditions.
Figures have also fallen in at least one other major hospital's ER.
The number of patients at the beginning of April decreased from 891 last year to 569 this year, at the Tartu University Clinic.
Editor: Roberta Vaino