The main organization representing family doctors in Estonia rejects a social affairs ministry proposal that in the event of a new wave of coronavirus infections, it would be the family doctor's job to determine the close contacts of an infected person, saying it would put too much of a strain on doctors and give them less time for patients.
Dr. Karmen Joller, board member at the Estonian Family Doctors' Association (Eesti Perearstide Selts), says that this data gathering need not be collated by a medical professional at all.
"It is vital that doctors and nurses deal with human health and that information and information solutions are provided by people and IT solutions designed for that function," Dr. Joller said.
"I don't think a doctor studied medicine at university in order to be a data collector, and this would also mean someone else could be denied medical assistance."
Heli Paluste, head of the social affairs ministry's healthcare network, said that ascertaining who an infected person had been in contact with and collecting data was a broader issue requiring more discussion.
"This is what we should discuss with doctors and the health and well-being information system center (TEHIK) to set up these processes, and still focus on what the purpose of this data transfer is. The main goal is to get important information as possible as soon as possible, which would help to limit the spread of a particularly dangerous infectious disease."
The family doctors' association has proposed several alternative solutions on data gathering in a potential future outbreak, which it says will be put up for further discussion.
Editor: Andrew Whyte