REVIEW – February 2005

Assessment of the quality of family medicine


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According to the regulations of 1997, the aim of the reform in primary health care was to provide patients with an all–Estonian primary health care system that is easily accessible and is based on trained and fully responsible family practitioners. Quality health care service was to be achieved through a required number of family practitioners supplied with approved work instructions and standard equipment, who would have a more trustful relationship with patients, who would be motivated to use their resources more efficiently, and offer who would optimal service.

The analysis reveals that the average number of visits per family practitioner per year and the number of visits per person per year have increased from 1998 to 2002. According to population surveys, the availability of family medical care is good – about 60 per cent of people can visit their family practitioner on the same day. All outpatient visits to family practitioners are free for people with health insurance. Almost 58% of the respondents were of the opinion that the present home visit fee – 50 EEK – would affect their decision to request a home visit.

The population of Estonia is generally satisfied with family practitioners. Of the respondents 87 per cent were fully satisfied or satisfied with their family physicians in 2002. The equipment at family practices meets the requirements. The survey of 2000 showed that family practitioners have most of the necessary equipment at their disposal. Compared with the survey of 1998, the situation has significantly improved.