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AUTUMN REPORT AUSTRIA – FEMS, EJD
1. New Executive Committee of the Austrian Medical Chamber
On 22 June 2017, the plenary assembly of the Austrian Medical Chamber has elected a new Executive Committee for the period 2017 - 2022. A.o. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Szekeres, specialist in laboratory medicine at the Medical University of Vienna and recently re-elected President of the Local Medical Chamber of Vienna, is taking over as President of the Austrian Medical Chamber from Tyrolean Dr. Artur Wechselberger. First Vice-President is Dr. Herwig Lindner, second Vice-President is Dr. Johannes Steinhart and third Vice-President is Dr. Harald Mayer.
2. Workload reduction in ambulatory care
One of the working priorities of the new Executive Committee of the Austrian Medical Chamber is the reduction of workload regarding ambulatory care in hospitals currently dealing with an excessive amount of patients. For relieving this situation, the sector of self-employed doctors has to be expanded and information campaigns for patients have to be launched. The Chamber also plans to tackle current problems as the compatibility of family and work as well as unresolved issues concerning the medical training. Therefore, main objectives are the improvement of the working conditions and the establishment of more flexible working time models, especially with regard to young doctors as well as less bureaucracy and improvement of the usability of the electronic health record ELGA.
3. Resolution on the Primary Health Care draft regulation
The Austrian Medical Chamber has committed to a modern primary health care system. However, the current draft of the primary care regulation is declined for missing essential components:
- New forms of collaboration among self-employed doctors, as well as possibilities for employment
- An increase in the budget for the sector of self-employed doctors, without the redistribution of financing from other areas
- An option that is not time limited and allows the return to individual contracts
- Fully financed medical training practices
The Austrian Medical Chamber has defined an action plan in order to have these points of criticism considered and recognized by health policy during the upcoming election period. Hence, the Austrian Medical Chamber is planning public relation and information campaigns for patients, as well as several public appearances in order to take politicians into responsibility.
4. Survey: need for improvement in Austrian hospitals
Dr. Karlheinz Kornhaeusl, Vice Representative of the federal body of employed doctors, is calling out politicians and system partners to collaborate and solve the current problems in healthcare together. According to a public survey (IMAS Linz, 2017), 63% of Austrian citizens see room for improvement in Austrian hospitals, which is a decrease by 20% when compared to the survey’s results from year 2001. Kornhaeusl is naming the bureaucracy in hospitals, usability problems with the electronic health record ELGA, and the increased demand for ambulatory treatments, as some of the current major challenges of employed doctors in Austria.
5. E-Card – photo for the identification of patients
Dr. Thomas Szekeres, president of the Austrian Medical Chamber, is very positive about the new Austrian electronic health-insurance cards (E-Cards) to be requiring a photo for the identification of patients. However, Vice-President, Dr. Johannes Steinhart, still identifies improvement potential for E-Cards, i.e., the provision of important information about the patient, such as blood type or known allergies.