In a simplistic universe, where public, private and public-private hospitals suffer from unhealthy competition, it remains essential to refocus discourse and action on the essential focus: the citizen. A user never ceases to be a customer, so it is essential to know how to serve them as such, giving them quality alternatives, and free choice according to their needs.
Despite being structurally distinct, public and private health have shown a common complementarity. On the one hand, we have a service institutionalized by the State, in which Público has a constitutional duty to serve the community, most of the time for free. The primordial condition is that it provides a quality service, accessible to all. On the other side of the spectrum, we have a service regulated by private entities which, despite having the same objective as Público, is only accessible under certain economic conditions, or indirectly (health insurance).
There are several perspectives to approach this reality, but we must start with those who benefit from hospital services, as well as those who provide them. On the side of those who use it, they expect quality above all else, which translates into speed of response and confidence in the service. On the side of those who provide, it is essential to have a detailed management of services and, above all, of human resources – doctors, nurses and auxiliary technicians. It is on these human resources that all the above-mentioned characteristics are based – quality, speed and trust.
Unfortunately, in Portugal, we are witnessing a public health service where there is an enormous quality of human resources, but due to its inefficient, careless management and excessive workload, there are thousands of Portuguese users who wait months, or even years, for a consultation, leaving you with a quality health service, no doubt, but slow and careless, leading to little trust.
What’s the solution? Copy the good examples. Let’s take the case of France, where National Health Insurance coverage was extended to all citizens more than 20 years ago by the country’s national health system. Germany is part of the 15 countries with the best National Health System in Europe, which is governed by a public-private system, financed by statutory contributions, which allows them to reduce the cost and waiting time for users. The Netherlands, which, by implementing mandatory basic health insurance, guarantees the subsistence of a better quality service through the payment of taxes.
In a model that prioritizes efficiency, establishing goals for the short/medium term can become beneficial, in order to substantially reduce waiting times, increase follow-up calls with personal care and create user-friendly hospital guides for hospitals public. The focus on hospital outcomes must also become a priority, in order to reduce the hospital readmission rate and, in turn, the interval between patients. The introduction of OKRs (Objectives & Key Results)to monitor and accompany the effectiveness of Health professionals (doctors, nurses and TAS), with the aim of increasing and multiplying the result of treatments and cures for patients.
We can only hope that the new path being taken by the SNS, with the appointment of a CEO, who should implement an organization strategy focused on correct management, will be the necessary response. We have good human resources at work, which is why an organization is urgently needed in which they can put their skills to work on behalf of the user/citizen.