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The Murska Sobota general hospital, which also has an emergency department, may follow the example of other medical centres and start charging patients for non-urgent medical services. Foto: MMC RTV SLO/J. G.

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"We're considering charging for non-urgent services"

The need for unified standards and prices
11. September 2018 ob 11:18
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

The Murska Sobota general hospital, which also has an emergency department, may follow the example of other medical centres and start charging patients for non-urgent medical services. The hospital's medical director, Daniel Grabar, says they treat between 100 and 150 patients per day.

"On Saturday we treated 119 patients, on Sunday 114. Patients come with problems, which they recognize as reasons to go see a doctor. We don't have any unified and specific standards, but I think that at least ten cases per day are not urgent and that those patients can also wait to see their own personal doctors. In such a situation, when some hospitals i.e. emergency departments are starting to charge patients for non-urgent services, we are also considering that option. But we would like for us to have unified standards, in order to strictly define which cases are urgent, so that we don't do any harm to someone," said the medical director of the Murska Sobota general hospital, Daniel Grabar.

Most people justifiably seek help
Most of the patients that arrive at the emergency department justifiably seek medical aid, but there are more and more cases of people arriving with minor non-urgent problems, said the deputy chief nurse of the emergency department Robert Ilić: "We had a case of lady that was stung by a bee on a Saturday, and who came to us on Sunday evening. It was nothing urgent. Or for example, a patient who had a fever for a week came to see us, without previously taking anything to try lower his temperature. So, we checked his body temperature, and the thermometer showed 37,2 degrees. And that’s no fever. We also have cases of young, eighteen or nineteen-year-olds, who arrive saying their backs hurt. When we ask them, if they maybe injured themselves, they say they didn’t, but that their backs just hurt. And then they smile, and you see that they’re not ill." So, what do you do in such cases? "We treat every patient professionally," says Ilić.

Cirila Sever; translated by K. J.
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