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Better conditions for building general physician teams – changes in the funding model and allocated additional funds

Date

2022 06 03

Rating
1
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The healthcare network reform focused a lot of attention on the team of a general physician. Addressing potential gaps in funding to date would lead to a collaborative GP team model, based on the principle, which says that larger GP teams that show better compliance with their patient interests would receive better funding. A consistently cooperating team of professionals should significantly reduce the administrative burden on the GPs, enabling them to focus more attention on their main job – consulting and treating patients.

General physicians can cooperate with other experts and work in a team with nurses, obstetricians, physical therapists, social workers, etc. for already four years. However, GPs rarely use this opportunity, while patients unable to receive quality services remain unsatisfied with the current situation. It is unfavourable to the GPs as well – a lot of the time that they could spend working directly with patients is spent on administrative and organisational work, which results in poorer quality of the services.

According to the medics and treatment facility managers, the main obstacle for developing GP teams is the flawed service payment system and lack of funding.

The Ministry of Health suggests that the situation should be fixed by not only improving the patient treatment, but also work quality of the medics by making adjustments to the funding model and allocating additional funds for building GP teams. The core principle is to ensure higher funding for larger GP teams that can satisfy their patient needs better. As of 2023, additional funds from the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund will be allocated for hiring the specialists that GP teams need, while EU funds will be used for the establishment of GP team work places with a part of it allocated for staff trainings, qualification improvement and equipment.

he development of GP teams is expected to be gradual with hopes to have all GP teams fully formed based on the needs of the patients, registered with each of the facilities, by 2030. This means that healthcare institutions (or municipalities) are free to decide on the numbers and types of experts they need, based on the age, health condition, family composition, social background, etc. of their patients.

The experience of advanced European countries shows that focusing on complex and life-style adjusting treatment instead of merely prescribing medication, and including specialists of various fields creates effective primary health care. This is the goal for Lithuania too.

With GP teams working with all staff members they need, general physicians will become the core of the team, being able to focus only on their patients’ health condition. Meanwhile, the rest of the experts on the team will take over the rest of the important functions, ranging from measuring blood pressure, vaccinations, registration for examinations, and organising newborn care at home, to taking care of transportation to another treatment facility, consulting on life-style changes, etc. Most importantly, the GP team members will share direct feedback, enabling them to promptly solve their patient health issues, adjusting treatment and seek for the best results.

In the future, GP teams could offer an even wider range of services, such as, upon completing special training, receiving patients with mild mental issues, helping people with anxiety or certain addictions (smoking, etc.). Moreover, general practice nurses and obstetricians would acquire more responsibilities as well. With these goals in mind, the Ministry of Health will submit the proposals regarding the amendments to the laws on the practices of nursing and obstetrics this autumn. The quality of all GP services will be ensured by the provisions and criteria of service quality, established in the legislation.

Press Service of the Ministry of Health

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