“Sending it back empty-handed” when registering with a family doctor is a plague. Does the registration employee have the right to do this?

"Sending it back empty-handed" when registering with a family doctor is a plague.  Does the registration employee have the right to do this?

The registration employee does not decide whether the visit to the family doctor should take place on the same day and whether the patient needs help. However, many people do not know about this rule. So who is the decision-maker in this matter?

It happens that when registering for a family doctor, we hear from the registration employee that there is no chance of seeing the doctor that day because “there are no numbers”. Almost everyone who has tried to make an appointment with a doctor on the same day has probably encountered such a situation at least once. However, it turns out that only one person can decide whether the visit will take place on a given day or not. This, in turn, depends on the patient’s health condition.

Who can refuse to make an appointment with a doctor on the same day?

It turns out that although registrations are accepted by the registration employee, the decision whether a given person will not be seen by a primary care physician on the same day is made by the family doctor. The Patient Ombudsman often receives complaints about clinics that refuse to allow patients to book a medical consultation on the same day, explaining, for example, opening hours and a certain number of places.

The only criterion that justifies a doctor’s visit on the day of reporting is the patient’s health condition. It is the family doctor who decides whether for medical reasons it is necessary to provide the patient with health services on the day of reporting to the doctor. The registration employee has no right to decide on this – points out the Patient Ombudsman.

This rule results from the fact that the registration employee is not a medical employee and cannot make decisions in this regard. He is responsible only for the organizational matters of a given facility. In the case of specialist consultations, it is worth checking how to find a faster appointment with a doctor.

What to do if the registration employee refuses to make an appointment with a primary care physician?

“If a registration employee refuses to book a patient for a doctor’s visit, patients should first ask the head of the healthcare facility for an explanation. It’s best if they do it in writing, because then the manager should also respond in writing. It would be good if a copy of the letter was also sent to the Patient Ombudsman,” reads the official information on the gov.pl website.

If such a response is insufficient for the patient, he or she may contact the appropriate Provincial Branch of the National Health Fund and contact the Patient Ombudsman. Such rules for registering patients result from the annex to the regulation of the Minister of Health on general terms and conditions of contracts for the provision of health care services. Each facility providing services under the National Health Fund must comply with the rules contained therein.

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