Serkan Alan / DUVAR

Following demands from healthcare professionals, the Ministry of Health has began to prepare regulations that will limit the number of applications for emergency healthcare service and initiate and incentivized appointment-based system. 

A major meeting organized by a number of healthcare trade associations was recently cancelled due to the coronavirus threat. The meeting was to be held for the purpose of addressing violence committed by relatives/close ones of patients against healthcare workers, the most frequent occurrences of which are in emergency room facilities. 

According to Turkish Medical Association General Secretary Bülent Nazim Yılmaz, Turkey’s current emergency room system is divided into three color-coded areas, green, yellow and red. Patients in the green area are first seen by nurses and then sent for treatment based on the diagnosis that they will leave the hospital quickly. Yellow area patients are those with more moderately-serious conditions, while red area patients are those who come to the hospital in ambulances and are dealing with life-threatening conditions. 

Yılmaz said that this scheme, in which many patients are not in need of urgent, life-saving care, needs to be transformed into a referral-based system to lower the congestion in Turkey’s emergency rooms. 

“With the referral system, people will be directly directed to hospitals via their computers. In fact this will be ensured by the family practice unit. This system will, of course, be valid for non-emergency situations. While this process is underway we need to measure, change, and renew the level of the public’s health information from the beginning. Those providing healthcare services to the first degree also have the duty of informing the public. However, at the moment family health centers and their practices are not enough to respond. When these steps are taken, incidents of violence will decline. Violence reducing from pent-up frustration and stress will decrease,” Yılmaz said.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy and doctor Ali Şeker said that the ratio of primary care physicians per person in Turkey is too low. Currently there is one primary care doctor for every 3500 people in Turkey, and that number needs to decrease to 1000, which means that Turkey needs more doctors, Şeker said.