Hundreds of stray patients looking for a doctor

Contact the regional office to find a general practitioner, contact the insurance company to find a specialist.

Illustrative photo. The number of stray patients increases.Illustrative photo. The number of stray patients increases. (Source: Ján Krošlák, Petit Press)

These are people going from clinic to clinic looking for a doctor to receive them as their patient or give them an examination date earlier than their own doctor would. Diabetologist Ľudmila Kubincová, from the town of Púchov in Trenčín Region, calls them stray patients. Other doctors confirm that they are growing in number.

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The phenomenon of stray patients became more pronounced after the New Year, when several doctors closed their clinics as a result of high energy prices and an increase in nurses' salaries.

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Health insurance companies report hundreds of patients asking them every year to help them find a doctor.

Finding a doctor is especially difficult in rural areas. Specialists are hard to find. One major problem is the lack of pulmonologists – lung specialists.

"The situation is getting worse and it will get worse," says Naďa Trenčanská Bedušová, executive director of the Association of Outpatient Providers (ZAP).

According to Kubincová, health insurance companies should search for and provide doctors for their patients. "The insurance company pretends that the regional authorities is supposed to solve it, and the region pretends that the insurance company is supposed to solve it," the diabetologist from Púchov describes the vicious circle.

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Regional authorities issue licenses to doctors to provide health care. If doctors end their activity, they send the medical records of their patients to the office of the self-governing region.

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