VMRO-DPMNE: Medical advice hotline (Hello, doctor)

We will establish a call centre offering advice and instructions to all citizens of Macedonia in cases that don’t require emergency medical treatment (colds, fevers, headaches, etc.). At least 10 MDs and 10 nurses with previous work experience will find gainful employment here, providing care and medical advice on the basis of symptoms that people share over the phone. The advantage is that the service will be available 24 hours, during weekends, holidays and inclement weather. The medical staff will be trained to work with medical software where they input the age, symptoms and chronic conditions of the caller and then issue advice, recommend treatments and medicines which do not require prescription. This is particularly important with the correct use of medicines in mind, especially in times when drugs can be bought over the counter in petrol stations, for example. The hotline and the medical advice will be provided free of charge and all conversations will be electronically recorded without revealing the identity of the caller/patient. Relevant institution: Ministry of Health. Budget: 4,000,000 denars. Deadline: 2015

 

ARGUMENT

The project dubbed “Hello, doctor” was announced by the minister of health, Nikola Todorov, at a party rally during the parliamentary election campaign in Berovo on April 17, 2014.

“We plan on hiring a dozen doctors and nurses and making them available over the phone to the people of the Republic of Macedonia 24 hours a day. They will help when it comes to less than serious health conditions that don’t require a personal visit, especially if it is late at night or during the weekend. If the condition is not too serious, the doctor will be able to help, and if it is serious, the hotline staff will recommend an actual visit to a doctor’s office,” said Todorov, explaining that the system was used by many countries with good results.

Several months later, on September 15, newspaper articles announced that the “Hello, doctor” project had commenced.

The Government’s “Hello, doctor” project, set to start today, will allow citizens to seek medical advice regarding a particular health condition or symptom by calling the number 15-123. As health minister Nikola Todorov announced on Saturday, the project includes MD specialists with at least 10 years of work experience – compared to general practitioners in the emergency ambulance service – while some of the specialists are recently retired professionals.

With this in mind, the promise should be considered fulfilled.

 

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This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.

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