Emergency care within 24 hours by 2021
Barcelona (CNA).- By 2021, nobody will have to wait more than 24 hours to get emergency medical care in Catalonia. This is the main goal of Catalonia’s Medical Emergency Plan, which was presented this Wednesday. In order to do achieve this goal, the Catalan Department for Health plans to launch five new Centers for Medical Emergencies, extend the 016 medical helpline service by adding a pediatric division and another for mental Health problems, promote home hospitalization and create new teams to assist chronic patients in fragile condition. “It is an ambitious goal,” admitted CatSalut’s director for Medical Care, Cristina Nadal, and emphasized the need for citizens to optimize relevant available resources.
During the winter period, when emergency services hit their peak, some hospitals such as the Vall d’Hebron have had to keep nearly half of their patients in the waiting room for more than 24 hours. Although this number is lower in other hospitals, it still represents about 25% of the patients. Catalonia’s Medical Emergency plan aims to reduce these figures to 10% either waiting in the hospital, at home, or at the GP. The Catalan Department for Health expects that in 4 years’ time nobody will have to wait more than 24 hours to be admitted for emergency services.
According to CatSalut’s director for Medical Care, Cristina Nadal, in order to achieve this ambitious goal, the resources available will not only be enhanced but improved. Therefore, the Department announced the creation of five new Centers for Medical Emergencies, which work like GP centers but are open 24 hours a day. Still, the first step patients should try is the 061 helpline, which will be improved by adding a pediatric care line as well as another specializing in mental health enquiries.
Another possibility that the Plan aims to promote is home hospitalization. This is a very positive option for those patients who are fragile but who can be treated without having to be in hospital. This resource is also available at old people’s homes.
In order to relieve the pressure on medical emergency services, the Plan also foresees launching four new support teams between 2017 and 2018. Each team will have 500,000 euros in order to respond to those patients who normally seek medical care by going to the emergency room.