Renewal of health centre services: only the patients with chronic illnesses will still have a dedicated doctor
The City of Tampere will introduce new practices at the city’s health centres at the start of April. The new system will replace the dedicated doctor system, which was based on areas of responsibility. In order to secure the continuity of their care, patients with chronic illnesses are requested to always seek treatment from the same doctor, as before. Occasional users of the city’s health centre services may make an appointment with the doctor who is available on the shortest notice. The services are available at the customer’s own health centre, as before.
The aim of the new practices is to meet the needs of today’s health services. The dedicated doctor system, which the city had used for years, was outdated, and the city had to find new ways of providing care to a growing number of customers.
– Many of our patients have a chronic illness, such as diabetes, rheumatism or apoplexy. According to a recent survey, more than half of the chronically ill patients want to have a permanent relationship with their care provider, and this is exactly what the health centres want to offer them, says Tero Harjuntausta, Deputy Chief at the City of Tampere’s health care services.
According to the new practice, patients with chronic illnesses may choose a doctor at their own health centre and register or list themselves as patients of the doctor. A long-term health and care plan is made with the patient upon the patient’s request. The patient is also provided with a dedicated nurse, because doctors and nurses work in pairs at the health centre. It will be easier for the patient to contact the health centre when the patient can contact their dedicated nurse directly.
A patient with a chronic illness can choose their dedicated doctor, for instance, at their next check-up or through health care counselling.
If the patient uses the health services occasionally and if their condition is short-term or minor, they receive the next available time at their own health centre with the doctor who is available. The objective is to shorten waiting times by allowing health centres to use cancelled or otherwise vacated appointment times for treating patients. However, patients with chronic illnesses are requested to seek treatment with their dedicated doctor in all cases, even if another doctor would be available sooner.
According to the new health centre practices, the doctors of the health centre are on call in turns. The doctor on call sees patients who need urgent treatment and acts as a consultant to other doctors and nurses, where necessary.
– The new system is flexible, and it allows health centres to make their operations as efficient as possible, says Tero Harjuntausta, Deputy Chief.
The health centres of Tesoma and Linnainmaa have been using the new model for some years now, and the experiences from the pilot have been positive. Queueing times have also become shorter.
The appointment system will remain unaltered
The booking of appointments at health centres has not changed. Patients can make appointments either through the health care counselling, 03 10023, or at their health centre.
Photos Susanna Lyly