Majority of surgeries postponed by coronavirus to be carried out this year

A COVID-19 ward at the North Estonia Medical Center.
A COVID-19 ward at the North Estonia Medical Center. Source: North Estonia Medical Center

Most of the scheduled surgeries postponed by coronavirus will be carried out this year as hospitals have been able to manage between the virus waves, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund has said.

The fund's Marko Tähnas told ERR most of the backlogs which formed after the first and second waves have been reduced. Surgeries postponed in the spring were carried out in summer.

Tähnas said critical surgeries that could not be delayed were carried out during the crisis peaks. "Fortunately, hospitals have done well," he said.

Hospitals have been affected differently, he added. While North Estonia Medical Center was the worst hit in the spring, this wave it has been Tartu University Hospital in south Estonia.

Marko Tähnas Source: ERR

"Fortunately, the current situation in northern Estonia has changed and the planned work can be done almost in full, [but] there are still people who are waiting in South Estonia, but most of the work will probably be done by the end of the year," Tähnas said.

Some areas such as orthopedics or specialist treatment might still be delayed until next year as wards are still being used for coronavirus patients, he added.

Tähnas estimated €10 million - 1-2 percent of the budget - would not be spent by the Health Insurance Fund this year due to the postponement of surgeries, although this may be offset by staff working overtime.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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