The Kumanovo Association of Private General Practitioners is seeking a number of legal amendments because, as they put it, if these are adopted, they will improve their performance and provide greater benefits to the patients. The letter with their requests has been submitted recently to Health Minister Arben Taravari and the Health Ministry.
The private GPs from Kumanovo are asking for certain amendments regarding the renewed registration of patients and the medical licenses for their private practices, adding that patients will thus save time and have a greater opportunity to be educated
“I hope that the current minister, who is the first minister over the past 20 years who has experience in this field and who has worked for a long time at the Clinic and in primary healthcare, will realize that our requirements are realistic. When it comes to primary healthcare, we ask that the patients should be reregistered in a given medical institution and that he medical licenses should carry the name of that respective medical institution. This request arises from the fact that many family doctors specialize abroad, so numerous patients are left without a GP, so they cannot be admitted to a hospital or receive secondary or tertiary healthcare,” says Dr, Fatmir Asani, the coordinator of the Kumanovo Association of Private General Practitioners.
He explains that the renewed registration of patients takes time, so the doctors are occupied with this, rather than with setting a diagnosis, writing prescriptions and, most importantly, they miss out on educating the patients.
“We are obliged to educate the patients regarding their disease, explain to them how to take their medications and inform them in detail of their illness. It is precisely because of these hurdles that I might as well say that Macedonia has good doctors, but poor educators,” Asani adds.
The association asks that the medications that the doctors prescribe come either to pieces or in a certain number or the number of medication in a package to be increased. He explains that, under the current regulations, the doctors can prescribe a therapy only for half a month or 20 days, so both the doctors and the patients are wasting their time seeing their family doctors so that they can get prescriptions and then they waste more time while looking for the relevant medications in pharmacies.
“Every patient receives a therapy for one month, rather than for 20 days, so we should write prescriptions for 2-3 packages of medications. The Health Insurance Fund allows this, but the patients cannot get the required medications in pharmacies. So, we ask for either an increase of the number of medications in every package or for us to be able to write down the number of necessary medications on the prescription so that the patients do not waste their time by going to see their family doctors instead,” Asani says.
The Kumanovo private GPs ask that, apart from the generic name of the medication, the brand name of certain medications is written down, too, because it happens that patients become confused over medications with different names so they drink them simultaneously, thereby causing certain health problems, mostly with their stomach, but this may occasionally result even in fatal mistakes.
“Some patients take the same medications with a different name and drink them all. They are thus making a fatal mistake, which may result in bleeding and other health risks. Old people have specific requirements. For example, they always look for the medication that they usually take and they refuse to take the same medication if the package has changed, So, they return it because they are afraid to take it. Perhaps it is good that they are asking for the same medication because thus they know what medications they are taking and thereby protect themselves,” Asani explains.
The Kumanovo doctors are seeking that the penalties for doctors should be abolished and that the medication prescription quota should increase, whereby they could be at the patients’ disposal.
“We are seeking an immediate suspension of all the penalties for doctors for trivial reasons only for the purpose of increasing the quota. It sometimes happens that, if we exceed the annual quota, the Health Insurance Fund punishes us. We are not to blame and we cannot tell our patients that we cannot give them a prescription because the quota has been met. No one predict the turn of events in the healthcare and no one can plan one year ahead,” Asani adds.
The Kumanovo Association of Private General Practitioners also seeks the full use of the electronic medical cards and the faster issuance of new ones. They say that the Health Ministry should follow the practice of the EU countries in this respect.
“Concerning the electronic medical card, we are spending a lot of money on these, so both we and the patients hope that they will be revoked as they have been in many EU countries. We also ask that no paper is used and no prescription or medical referral letters are written on paper, but that these data be included in the electronic cards themselves so that the pharmacy can read the doctor’s prescriptions in the computer program, as it is done in Germany. Currently, we use both paper and the electronic card,” Asani says.
The association seeks that the process of issuing medical cards is accelerated. The Kumanovo doctors expect the relevant ministry to review their requests, to consult them and to take measures to amend the regulations and adopt their requirements.