Compared with last year, healthcare waiting lists have become shorter despite the COVID-19 pandemic.This is largely due to nurses and doctors working harder than before, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
Head of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund's (Haigekassa) partnership department, Marko Tähnas, said that usually there are about 100,000 people on the waiting list. At the same time, the more appointment times are open, the longer the lists are, he said.
However, in November, lists have been shorter than in October and September, and Tähnas confirmed that compared with last year, the lists are shorter as well.
Tähnas said that another positive thing is that most patients make it to the doctor at the promised time, which is six months.
Waiting lists can be measured in two different ways. First, it is possible to see how many people are on the waiting list and secondly, ascertain how long they have to wait for the doctor's appointment.
"When we look at where the more people in the list are, this concerns areas with direct visits where a consignment note is not required, for example, with dermatologists and gynecologists. However, the lists are not longer than in previous years," Tähnas explained.
"When we look at how do I have to wait on a list of a specific area like neuro or cardio surgery, then the line is longer compared to other areas."
Tähnas said that this year, remote reception work has been added. This way, people don't need to go to doctors and can get help through a video or web call.
"It started in March and it has been accepted well. But what is completely new, from the second week of November, is distance therapy," Tähnas said. He explained that it allows people to communicate with a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or speech therapist in the form of distance therapy. "It has been very well received by the people. The Health Insurance Fund also collects feedback from people on how they have been doing, what are their observations and recommendations and the satisfaction is over 90 percent," Tähnas said.
The Health Insurance Fund recommends using a digital registry when arranging an appointment with the doctor, where all appointments can be seen.
Editor: Roberta Vaino