Expatica news

First 24-hour doctors’ surgery to open in Belgium

24 January 2005

BRUSSELS – The first all-night walk-in doctors clinic in Belgium is to open on January 30.

Patients will be able to see a doctor in Molenbeek from 8pm until 8am everyday, including weekends and bank holidays, for the usual fee of EUR 18, Le Soir reported on Monday.

“We’re not here for curative or preventive medicine, which remains the responsibility of ordinary doctors, but for all emergency cases related to general medicine,” explained Dr Patrick Bacart, the head of the initiative.

Patients could be treated for anything from a finger trapped in a door to angina or asthma attacks and the surgery would be geared up to give stitches and electrocardiograms.

The project, run by the charity Medinuit, is to be followed by other 24-hour surgeries in other districts. The Health Department has earmarked EUR 2 million a year to get the surgeries up and running.

There will be at least five in Brussels and one each in Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liege; and one in either Bruges or Namur.

The idea is to reduce the numbers of patients clogging up hospitals’ emergency wards. A recent study by the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) found 500,000 cases of people who unnecessarily consulted A&E wards at Belgian hospitals.

A large majority of patients head to hospital without seeing a GP (73 percent). Most say they choose hospitals because they are open 24-hours a day.

Planners hope Molenbeek surgery will eventually be able to see three patients an hour, more than 17,000 yearly consultations, and that all 10 walk-in clinics could deal with 200,000 patients annually.

The Molenbeek clinic is at 93 Boulevard du Jubile, Molenbeek, tel. 02.427.97.27.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news