GP cannot prescribe medicine recommended by specialist anymore

Doctors warn that it would require more visits to doctors for chronic patients and seniors.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

General practitioners cannot prescribe medicine recommended by a doctor-specialist anymore, pointed out the Association of Outpatient Providers (ZAP).

The association negatively perceives the fact that specialists and patients were not informed about the changes and they could not prepare for them.

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The association is calling on the Health Ministry to re-evaluate the amendment and to seek a common compromise solution.

“We are persuaded that accepting such a fundamental change should not be ongoing without a proper review procedure of the trade unions representing patients and doctors,” said Jaroslava Orosová on ZAP, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

More visits for chronic patients

According to Orosová, the association understands that it is necessary to relieve general practitioners as much as possible at present, and it is also necessary to correct the improper setting of responsibility for prescribed treatment.

However, she said that it is not possible to add responsibilities to specialists without creating the conditions and prior discussion.

“We have legitimate concerns about the initial difficult implementation of a change in prescription, which could lead to a deterioration in the availability of healthcare for patients,” she said as quoted by TASR. “For some, this change can mean an unnecessary logistical burden in terms of the need to visit several specialist doctors just for the purpose of prescribing chronic treatment.”

She added that this is the case for most seniors and chronic patients.

Decreasing the burden on patients

The changed approved by OĽaNO MPs Eva Horváthová, Marek Šefčík and Marek Krajčí is valid from the beginning of 2022. MPs justified the change by citing the overburdening of general practitioners and an increase of visits to outpatient departments.

The spokesperson for the Health Ministry, Zuzana Eliášová, said in response that the ministry was open to discussing drug prescriptions.

“The specialist not only indicates the drug, but also prescribes it to the patient,” Eliášová said. “This amendment will increase the medical and legal safety of the patient and the prescribing doctor. The patient will not be forced to visit a general practitioner to prescribe the drug indicated by the specialist. At the same time, the prescribing doctor is obliged to prescribe the patient an ePrescription,” spokesperson said.

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