Reform of primary health care creates ‘care teams’

Summary

General physicians, dentists and psychologists should not exist in a vacuum and must work together as a team for the good of the patient, says Flanders public health minister Jo Vandeurzen

No doctor is an island

Primary health-care professionals will in future work more as a team, and all patients will have care plans adjusted to their needs. These are the main ambitions of a reform of the primary health-care system presented yesterday by Flemish welfare minister Jo Vandeurzen.

Because of the ageing of the population and the evolution in medical science, the number of people requiring ongoing care is increasing. To cope with the higher demand, primary health-care providers like GPs, pharmacists, home nurses, dentists and psychologists will have to collaborate much more effectively, Vandeurzen said. 

This “care team” will, in more complex cases, be led by a care co-ordinator. The team will work with a “care plan” created according to the needs of individual patients.

One of the goals would be to put the patient in a central role regarding decisions related to the care plan. “The relationship between patients and care providers will no longer be a one-way street,” said Vandeurzen in a statement. 

Patients would also be helped by local contact points in their own towns and cities, which will be run by the welfare agency OCMW, the wellbeing centre CAW and mutualities. The new Flemish Institute for Primary Health Care will offer care providers trainings and advice.

Details on a timeline for the reform has not yet been announced.

Photo: Ingimage

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