Day surgery services available to more people


2022 06 02


The scope of safe, convenient and modern day surgery services, offered in Lithuania, is still too small – surgeries with patients leaving home on the same day constitute merely 24 per cent of the total number of simple operations all over the country. Meanwhile, in European countries this type of surgery constitutes about 70-80 per cent of total operations. The updated regulation of day surgery will enable to develop these services, making them available to more patients.

According to Danguolė Jankauskienė, Vice-Minister of Health, the Ministry of Health has updated requirements and expanded the list and indications of day surgery services to make convenient and safe day surgery services available to more patients.

‘We make legal adjustments in many processes to be able to cure more ailments in just a day. This enables us to reduce the queues for specialising doctors and excess costs from the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund, which are unnecessary for the patients.’ said the Vice-Minister.

Day surgery is a small-scale, pre-planned and modern healthcare service, such as hernia removal, eye surgeries (cataract, droopy eyelids, etc.), or endoscopic procedures, lymph node biopsy under anaesthesia, and other interventions. After the surgery, if the doctor decides that it is safe, the patient can go home on the very same day.

Prof. Donatas Venskutonis, Head of Interventional Medicine at Kaunas Hospital of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, claims that patient condition is evaluated after each surgery and it is only then that the decision is made if the patient is safe to go home. Upon release from hospital, the patient’s care is then taken over by his or her general physician’s team.

‘Day surgery is an advanced method, that has been used successfully at our facility for quite some time. Thanks to modern equipment and qualified staff, surgeries that previously required long stays at the hospital, have now become much simpler because of small-scale interventions. Patients get back to their usual lives rather quickly. In my experience, the majority are very satisfied with that.’ says Venskutonis.

According to him, day surgery patients often ask to be released home even earlier than they should after the surgery. ‘Of course, we do take into the account the patient’s condition, but what this shows is that the majority of the patients are more than happy about this type of surgery.’ he noted. Moreover, complication rate among day surgery patients is 3 times lower than with inpatient care – patients healing at home have fewer encounters with other patients and evade possible infections.

Although day surgery is an efficient and modern way to solve health issues, its development is often hampered by people’s attitude that you can receive quality surgery services only at metropolitan hospitals. Martynas Gedminas, Director of Joniškis Hospital, agrees that this stereotype is still prevalent, but high-quality and responsible work of the hospital staff helps to defeat these fears.    

‘Small healthcare institutions have proven themselves as capable of providing these services as well as large healthcare centres and, perhaps, doing it even better. Having no inpatient treatment with long-term patients staying at the hospital with a wide range of conditions, reduces the amounts of pathogens at the hospital, while the team gets really good at performing frequent daily surgical procedures. People that come for their surgeries quickly share the good news with their communities. Day surgery is safe and much more convenient than going somewhere far from home. We conduct 6-12 surgeries at our day surgery centre every day.’ says Gedminas, adding that up to 80 per cent of the surgical procedures can be done as day surgery operations and the same is confirmed by the World Health Organisation. Lithuanian bodies and cells are no different – we simply have to change our attitude towards ambulatory care and services provided on an outpatient basis.’

Day surgery opens more opportunities for the medical staff as well. They will be able to choose living and working in smaller towns with no fear of smaller patient flows. The amount of day surgery services is much higher than inpatient services, thus, in the near future, patients that need uncomplicated surgery treatment are expected to return to regional hospitals instead of flooding metropolitan hospitals. This will enable to distribute patient flows and shorten the queues.

In the future, day surgery is expected to become even more convenient, including transportation services for those, who cannot come to treatment facilities or return home due to their health condition or socio-economic reasons. You can read more about that here.

Press Service of the Ministry of Health

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