No. 4




A concerned view of the public health project

19 December 2001


RiTo No. 4, 2001

  • Andres Ellamaa

    Physician of the Mustamäe Hospital, Minister of Public Health, 1990-1992

The public health project has crept past the real issue of health and couched itself in medical care issues alone. In order to rearrange the system, we have to take inventory. We do not know what actual demand is for medical aid.

A project is fine and well, if its actual feasibility is clarified. Today and no later, we need to explain to people what has actually changed in their lives when the former district doctor or rural doctor became a general practitioner. Doctors themselves would probably like to know how things improved when a patient with a broken bone can only get an appointment with his or her family physician five days after he or she leaves the hospital. Or what changed for the better for the patient who has to go to his G.P. in order to get a reference for the neurologist. Or since when did a hernia become more easily operable after half a year of waiting? There are more questions than answers.

In order to move forward, we need not go off on all the tangents. In order to plan something, we first need to know what the price is, and whether and to what extent there is a need for it. Then we may begin thinking where we can raise money, and how much is possible. It is worth learning from the mistakes made by other countries or nations, including the very rich and old ones, and not to live under the blind supposition that fortune and success can be copied.

Full article in Estonian