REVIEW – January 2009

Family medicine in Estonia: further development


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Development of family medicine in Estonia since 1991 has taken place in accordance with the internationally accepted principles of family medicine. The established organization and financing system allows to provide patient centred health care. The main providers of family health care are the family doctor and  the family nurse whose resposibilities are regulated by their job descriptions. The new development plan for primary health care prefers family medicine centres with primary health care providers of different specialities housed in same building. The article discusses the strengths and the weaknesses of the three  aspects of this plan – concept of teamwork, out of hour services and development of family doctors with special interests.