Medical association: Estonian medical system rests on overworked staff ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

PERH staff and facilities during the emergency situation.
PERH staff and facilities during the emergency situation. Source: Aivar Kullamaa/PERH

While shortage of healthcare workers, relative importance of family doctors who have reached retirement age and scarcity of new doctors has been widely discussed, little has been done to solve the problems, the Estonian Medical Association said in a statement on Saturday.

The statement suggests that a shift is needed in how the country is run and in society's cast of mind in terms of attaching greater value and meaning to the work of doctors and nurses.

"The entire world understands better today that one's health is priceless. Doctors, nurses, police officers, rescue workers, teachers and many others who cannot work from home are suddenly noticed. They are always on the front lines, not just during an epidemic."

The association says that while shortage of healthcare workers, relative importance of family doctors who have reached retirement age and scarcity of new doctors has been widely discussed, little has been done to solve the problems.

"Our medical system rests on the overtime of doctors and nurses and them having to work multiple jobs. There are no emergency resources. The Riigikogu Foresight Center finds that healthcare funding will be in crisis inside five years," the address goes on.

"The government admits today that more beds and respiratory equipment are of no use without medical staff. We want this realization to persist beyond the coronavirus crisis, for healthcare funding to become sustainable and the state budget to prioritize health investments," doctors write.

Full text of the Estonian Medical Association's address:

"The entire world understands better today that one's health is priceless. Doctors, nurses, police officers, rescue workers, teachers and many others who cannot work from the home office are suddenly noticed. They are always in the front lines, not just during an epidemic.

While shortage of healthcare workers, relative importance of family doctors who have reached retirement age and scarcity of new doctors has been widely discussed, little has been done to solve the problems. Our medical system stands on the overtime of doctors and nurses and them having to work multiple jobs. There are no emergency resources. The Riigikogu Foresight Center finds that healthcare funding will be in crisis inside five years.

The government admits today that more beds and respiratory equipment are of no use without medical staff. We want this realization to persist beyond the coronavirus crisis, for healthcare funding to become sustainable and the state budget to prioritize health investments.

Improvement of salary and working conditions in collective agreements has slowed the process of Estonian doctors going to work abroad. This trend must not be reversed. Healthcare workers also need better social guarantees for loss of capacity for work as their profession holds other risks besides infection.

The Estonian medical system has managed to stay on top of COVID-19 this far. Everyone in Estonia has contributed. We want to thank everyone who takes care of themselves and does not listen to fake teachings. We recognize scientists for wisely and tirelessly advising our leaders and the latter for heeding their advice. We admire field testers' and Health Board coronavirus detectives' working ability and praise journalists for providing crash courses in epidemiology and biological statistics.

Our health is most affected by our daily choices. Let us make staying home from work, school or parties when sick the new normality. The government made the right call in compensating sick leave from the second day. We urge employers to also compensate the first day, especially in case of communicable diseases.

The Estonian Medical Association is proud of all colleagues who adjusted overnight to departments being shuffled around and wearing uncomfortable protective gear and went to help their colleagues in other medical institutions. We have managed remote appointments in a difficult situation and adopted new medical guidelines. Medical students, residents and their teachers have invented new and flexible forms of study to make sure the training of doctors and the quality of future medical assistance is maintained. These experiences help us manage the current epidemic and any potential future emergencies.

The Estonian Medical Association is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. One hundred years of working together shows we can always rely on each other, meaning that patients can also rely on us."

The association's general meeting was held in the format of a video conference.

--

Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Marcus Turovski

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: