Vienna, Austria is facing a shortage of pediatricians, resulting in long waiting times for appointments, especially during weekends and off-peak hours. To address this issue, a new model has been introduced that aims to eliminate the shortage of care by creating nine new facilities for children’s medical care in Vienna by the end of the year.
The new facilities will include five children’s medical centers (KMZ) and four children’s primary care units (KPVE) and will have long opening times of up to 40 hours a week with no days off during the week. These centers will also have advantages for doctors, who will not have to go through the hassle of looking for a substitute when they’re on vacation or ill.
One of the main advantages of these centers is that two specialists will be present in the KMZ with other health professionals, which will save parents a lot of work if further treatment is necessary. In addition, the health professions that will settle in the new centers include psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers, pulmonary specialists for children, among others.
The primary care centers (KPVE) will have three specialists who will work together with other health professionals and will be open 50 hours a week. The plan is for the smaller KMZ to eventually grow and become KPVE. Many doctors would prefer to work in a team, and with the cooperation in one of these centers, work-life balance is also taken into account, which is particularly important for today’s generation of doctors.
The new model has been described as a “forward-looking model” that could be suitable for later being rolled out throughout Austria, and there are already enough interested parties to start with nine centers at the end of the year. The pilot agreement that is valid for five years includes not only the ÖGK, but also the public service/railway/mining funds (BVAEB), the self-employed fund SVS, and the KFA of the City of Vienna.
Funding is a key issue, and an average of 1.8 million euros per year is earmarked for each institution. The new model aims to bring doctors of choice back into the cash register system and not increase the number of posts. The new model is a significant change in the care of children in Vienna and has the potential to make healthcare more accessible and efficient for parents and doctors alike.