Six hospital directors and top doctors from Tartu and Tallinn, Estonia's two biggest cities, have issued a call to establish a single university hospital in Estonia with campuses in Tartu and Tallinn by 2025.
"The service area of most university hospitals in Europe embraces at least one million people," the authors of the initiative, which include the directors of Tartu University Hospital (TÜK), North Estonia Medical Centre (PERH) and Tallinn Children's Hospital, say in an editorial published in the April issue of Eesti Arst magazine. "Hence a single university hospital serving the whole country would be suited for Estonia. This could be done by bringing the current three regional hospitals together into a consortium. A single university hospital wold emerge with two campuses: in Tartu and in Tallinn."
The authors point out that the service area of a university hospital must be big enough to make sure that all the most important illnesses and conditions are represented on a scale necessary for learning the medical profession and research.
They also point out that a consolidation of large university hospitals has taken place elsewhere in Europe as well. In Finland, for example, 17 hospitals, which lie as far apart from one another as Tallinn and Tartu in terms of transport time, have come together to form Helsinki University Hospital.
"University hospital is the highest stage in the chain of treatment in developed societies, which must be reflected in the name of the consortium," the hospital noted.
Based on the decisions to be made in the consortium by consensus, which would be agreed with the municipalities, regional profiling of certain medical specialities would take place, according to the initiative.
"To support the greater mobility of students, residents and doctors, suitable accommodation facilities must be established at both campuses," the hospital directors said.
One large consortium would allow for making investments in a coordinated manner, carrying out of public procurement tenders more effectively, help reduce the so-called arms race between hospitals, and allow to optimize administration costs. The creation of a single university hospital would allow to establish common standards of treatment for all patients, significantly improve Estonia's international competitiveness, improve the chances of researchers in applying for international grants, as well as their opportunities to take part in international research projects.
The call was signed by TÜK CEO Urmas Siigur, PERH CEO Agris Peedu, Director of the Neurology Clinic at TÜK Toomas Asser, Director of the Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Clinic of TÜK Joel Starkopf, Surgery Clinic of TÜK doctor Peep Talving, and Tallinn Children's Hospital CEO Katrin Luts.
Editor: Aili Vahtla