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Danish Government Presents Healthcare Reform Proposal
 
Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen (source: Berlingske)

On January 16, 2019 the Danish government presented its proposal for a new healthcare reform: “Patient First”. The proposal was presented by Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen (V) at a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office (Statsministeriet) earlier today.

The key elements of the proposal include:

Abolishing the Regional Councils
The government proposes that the Regional Councils are abolished by the end of 2020. The current members of the Regional Councils are elected through 2021. There are 205 elected officials (four-year terms) in the current five Regional Councils.

Health Authority Denmark (Sundhedsvæsen Danmark)
A politically-appointed board under the Ministry of Health should keep the health authorities’ economy in check. The board – Sundhedsvæsen – will consist of 11 people including five representatives from the five health divisions (Sundhedsforvaltninger - same geography as the current Regions) and a representative from a patient organization. Health Authority Denmark / Sundhedsvæsen Denmark will be headquartered in Aarhus.

Five ‘Sundhedsforvaltninger’ (Health Divisions)
The government proposes to establish five health divisions (Sundhedsforvaltninger), who will be in charge of managing hospitals and emergency standby services. Geographically the same as the current five regions with the same main offices. The government will offer the current Regional Chairs seats in the new healthcare divisions and the new board under the Ministry of Health.

21 Health Communities
The government seeks to establish 21 so-called health communities – each of them ranging over multiple municipalities. These will be build up around the current emergency hospitals (akutsygehuse). The idea is to enhance the cooperation amongst hospitals, GPs and the municipalities in order to improve and secure patients’ treatments after being released from the hospital. The health communities’ management will consist of elected officials (mayors, chairs of the municipalities’ health committees). Representatives from hospitals and GPs will also be part of the management.

Patients’ Rights
The government seeks to strengthen patients’ rights by obliging hospitals to assist patients to be treated elsewhere, if they cannot abide by the 30-day deadline for treatment. Today, is it far from every hospital that assists patients by contacting other hospitals if they are not able to assist the patient themselves.

Fewer Hospital Visits and Admissions
The government has an ambition that by 2025 there will be 500,000 fewer hospital visits and 40,000 fewer admission – particularly patients with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, anxiety, depression and the lung disease COPD (KOL).

DKK 6 Billion More for Healthcare
The government will allocate DKK 6 Billion to the healthcare system through 2025. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen clarified that the funds are currently being spent on service compensations and party funding but are now allocated towards strengthening the personal closeness of the healthcare system (nærhed i sundhedssystemet).

More General Practitioners
The government will establish 160 extra educational positions during 2019 and 2020. In addition, they will add 100 additional ‘ydernumre’, which will allow more GPs and specialists to start their own practice.

More Emergency Services
10-15 more emergency services (emergency doctors, personnel and vehicles) are established in areas where needed.

National On-Call GP
With this reform, the government sees to establish a national on-call GP service for emergency visitation and treatment. The call number will be 113.

New Health Centers
In 2019, the government proposes to allocate DKK 200 M to the establishment and modernization of health centers and group medical practices in order to ensure more ‘personal closeness’ and flexibility in the health sector.

Digital Solutions
Digital solutions should work across the entire national healthcare system. How these solutions will be implemented is yet unclear.

More Nurses
The government will educate 600 more nurses between 2019 and 2022.

To read the entire health reform proposal, click here (in Danish).

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