The Tallinn city government will launch a family doctor brigade from the end of this month that will make visits to homes where a child under the age of eight has fallen ill and where parents need such assistance.
"We came up with the idea already in summer that it would be necessary to offer a doctor home visit service," Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart said, adding that the aim of the service is to lift some of the burdens from the ambulance service.
"Our family doctors do not make home visits, although the need of it exists. And therefore the workload has been put on the ambulance service and also emergency medicine departments are overloaded," he said.
Deputy Mayor Betina Beškina said that the family doctor brigade will start work on October 30 and will initially work only during weekends and public holidays.
Parents of a sick child who want the brigade to visit their home must make a phone call to 6 971 145 between noon and 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The brigade works from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the same days.
The brigade will be comprised of a non-specialized physician and an ambulance worker and it can issue prescriptions.
"Laboratory tests cannot be performed on the spot of course, for that people should turn to a hospital," Beškina said, adding that the brigade is estimated to be able to respond to up to 10 calls during one day.
The service is available within the borders of Tallinn and the city has earmarked 60,000 euros in its budget for it.
Raul Adlas, head doctor of Tallinn's ambulance service, described this as a unique situation, as for the first time ever a municipality is about to provide a healthcare service that the Health Insurance Fund and the state do not offer.
"We wish to study very many things during the test period, and after that we can start deciding about the real volume of the service and other details," Adlas said.
Editor: Helen Wright