The burden of Covid testing, tracing, affects primary care services

Testing and tracing Covid cases is putting increasing pressure on the Finnish public health care system, and many municipalities and hospital districts are urging the government to change its current hybrid strategy to combat the latest effects of the pandemic.

Healthcare staff and resources have been developed to curb the recent increase in infections. This has led to people in many municipalities facing long delays when applying for appointments on non-Covid-related matters.

For example, the burden of tracing Covid cases has a detrimental effect on the services provided by the Southwest Finland Hospital District, according to the infectious disease doctor Esa Rintala.

"Counseling centers, school health services and health centers suffer from" Rintala said.

This, in turn, affects hospital emergency services, which are becoming increasingly congested because people are unable to get appointments at health centers.

"This affects in particular the treatment of chronic diseases," by Tuula Karhula, Director of Health Services, South Karelia Social and Health District, Eksote.

Doctor: “This can’t go on”

Hospital districts across the country are now asking the authorities for guidance on how to deal with the situation, and Rintala is calling for immediate action to secure the operation of primary health care.

"This can not continue. The testing policy needs to be changed," he told Yle and added that authorities should consider whether such extensive testing is the right strategy to manage the pandemic.

"Large-scale testing of vaccinees is not practical," Rintala said.

HUS is associated with the requirements for clearer control

Chief Physician at the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS), Jari Petäjä, was also linked to calls for clearer guidance from the government and guidance on what kind of testing capacity is expected and how it will be funded.

According to Petaja, the testing capacity cannot be increased from the current level because it already requires a lot of professionals.

"Rather, it should be assessed whether the number of tests could be reduced," he said, adding that the current tracking policy also needs to be reviewed as it is closely related to the management of testing capacity.

"For example, if all students in a school class are defined as exposed to the virus, it will produce several times more samples for testing instead of sitting at nearby desks." The traitor said.

Some regional authorities have been waiting for government guidance and taking matters into their own hands. For example, the Pirkanmaa region announced last week that fully vaccinated people no longer need to apply for a coronavirus test if they have only mild symptoms of a respiratory infection.

However, the hospital has developed a practice in accordance with its own risk assessment and does not apply to healthcare workers or people exposed to the virus.

Source: The Nordic Page


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