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Complaints addressed to the call center are often about non-urgent matters



Prioritizing non-urgent cases puts other patients in an unequal position

Health care institutions must call the complainant within 24 hours after complaints that individuals send to the call center for patient assistance. However, some medical centers warn that complaints made through the call center are often about non-urgent matters.

On March 1, with the help of Telekom Slovenije, the Ministry of Health established a call center to help users of the health system, which can be reached on the phone number 080 18 01 and is intended, among other things, to help people find a personal doctor and in finding clinics for the undefined. At the same time, the call center collects information from people about where they called and who did not answer the phone, and forwards this information to the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Health explained that they asked health care providers to provide an address where the call center can forward questions from users of the health care system who have contacted them. Health institutions were also asked to establish contact with the user within 24 hours of receiving the call center request and provide feedback on the success of the request. This call gave the users of the health system an interlocutor for their problems, they emphasized.

ZD Ljubljana explains that after the first two days of operation of the call center, they received nine requests from the call center to resolve patient complaints, and later four to five per day. “In ZD Ljubljana, where we have more than 400 thousand identifications of patients in primary health clinics, this number is small, which pleases us,” they explained.

When they analyzed the content of the call center’s requests for clarifications for the first two days, they noticed that they were complaints from patients regarding the management of non-urgent administrative matters, although the providers are instructed to resolve them as a matter of priority within 24 hours.

Patients needed prescriptions for non-emergency medications, over-the-counter medications, and wanted to identify themselves at a clinic for unspecified insured persons, even though patients in such clinics are supposed to identify themselves when they have a medical problem, which is also published on our website. In other cases, the information is also published on our website,” warned ZD Ljubljana.

If patients were to start using the call center as a bypass for quickly resolving non-urgent administrative matters, according to them, it may happen that administrative matters will have to be resolved within 24 hours, and more serious medical problems when medical professionals are able. Patients who need examination and further diagnostics and treatment are always given priority in the outpatient clinic, they emphasized.

Only four inquiries in Maribor

Since the establishment of the call center at ZD Maribor, the call center has received requests for four patients via e-mail until Saturday. It is a negligible number of requests, they emphasized.

However, they spent quite a bit of time calling patients and asking them about their orders through the call center, explained the head nurse of general health care at ZD Maribor Petra Hlade Kodrič and added that according to the law on patients’ rights, medical institutions are obliged to respond to patients within two working days of the clinic, which now puts patients who contact their clinic directly in an unequal position.

As a result, patients who call the call center for assistance to users of the health system should be treated as a priority even in matters that are not urgent, explained Hlade Kodrič.

Source: Rtvslo

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