Austria to Cut Single-Doctor Clinics

Austria to Cut Single-Doctor Clinics

Austria is set to significantly expand its network of primary care units while reducing the number of single-doctor practices by 2030, the head of the Austrian Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK) announced on Monday.

Speaking to journalists at the offices of the Umbrella Organisation of Social Insurance Institutions in Vienna, Andreas Huss outlined plans to increase the number of primary care units (PVEs) from 75 to 300 nationwide, as part of a wide-ranging reform of Austria’s healthcare system. PVEs, which involve doctors collaborating with other healthcare professionals, will continue to offer general and paediatric care, and will expand to include women’s health services, particularly insurance-funded gynaecological care, as well as psychosocial care.

MRI and CT scan services will also be expanded, with new measures introduced to reduce waiting times for urgent cases such as suspected cancer. The ÖGK also aims to bolster its adult vaccination programmes and improve the care of chronically ill patients, including those with diabetes.

Plans to cut single-doctor practices have sparked outrage from the Austrian Medical Association, which represents the country’s medical practitioners and deems single-doctor practices crucial to primary care.

“ÖGK chairman Huss is once again targeting the medical profession,” Association president Johannes Steinhart said in a written statement to the Austrian Press Agency (APA). “With his repeated criticism of single-doctor practices, private doctors, and the professional association, he has completely lost sight of reality and the healthcare needs of the population.”

Photo: APA/HERBERT PFARRHOFER/HERBERT PFARRHOFER

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