Chile - Government aims to eliminate lengthy healthcare waitlists

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 6 September 2011

Keywords

Citation

(2011), "Chile - Government aims to eliminate lengthy healthcare waitlists", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 24 No. 7. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijhcqa.2011.06224gaa.004

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:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Chile - Government aims to eliminate lengthy healthcare waitlists

Article Type: News and views From: International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Volume 24, Issue 7

Keywords: Healthcare access, Waiting times, Healthcare providers

Chile’s President, Sebastián Piñera, announced this week his aim to eliminate extensive waitlists for critical health procedures given by Chile’s Universal Health Access (AUGE) plan by the end of 2011, six months ahead of schedule.

The president promised last year to put an end to the waitlists by May 2012, but he revised the timetable on Monday while visiting the Instituto Traumatológico Dr Teodoro Gebauer Weisser.

Introduced in July 2005, the AUGE plan guarantees access to quality care for all Chileans suffering from a list of recognized serious health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cervical cancer, and schizophrenia.

Currently, however, more than 51,000 people are waitlisted for receiving treatment for illnesses covered by the AUGE plan.

This has been a titanic task”, Piñera told El Mercurio. “When we don’t meet the guarantees given by AUGE, we are not only failing to comply with a right granted by the law, we are also condemning many people to real suffering.”

A few months ago ten new illnesses were added to the AUGE list, taking the number of pathologies covered by the plan to 69.

But Socialist Dep. Juan Luis Castro, who is a member of the chamber of deputies’ health committee, said more illnesses should be recognized by the AUGE plan.

“I would not only like to help resolve the waitlist problem, I would also like to see other illnesses incorporated into the plan”, Dep. Castro told Radio Universidad de Chile.

Hernias, varicose veins and colon and liver problems are among the conditions Castro wants to include in the AUGE plan. There are now almost 90,000 Chileans awaiting surgery for conditions not covered by the plan.

Piñera said his government also hopes to eliminate excessive wait times for these illnesses by May 2013.

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