Emergency clinic services of the City of Helsinki and of HUS merged at the beginning of 2019. The purpose of the merger was to ensure high-quality emergency clinic services for Helsinki residents on a 24/7 basis, more smoothly and more cost efficiently.
The merger led to a shortage of physicians at emergency clinics, which even ended up on the news. The shortage was addressed with hired labor, but not enough hired physicians were available, as service agreements were in the process of being renewed through competitive tendering. There was no alternative but to find other ways to ensure enough physicians in emergency care and thereby ensure good care for patients.
Three month training program
HUS Emergency Medicine and Services stepped up. A three month training program was set up in general practice emergency clinic services to train freshly qualified physicians for emergency clinic work. The aim was to respond to challenges in emergency clinic work emerging among young physicians, such as panic, stress and a lack of professional guidance. There were 30 places in the first training period.
The training program is led and marketed in various contexts by Chief Physician Emil Heinäaho from HUS Emergency Medicine and Services, who is also a specialist in general practice.
“My colleagues and myself well remembered the lack of professional guidance when we were young health center physicians. It was terrifying to be put on call when you were not familiar with the facilities or the systems. This training program offers a more gradual introduction to emergency clinic work.”
The training program content was posted online in its entirety, and the program was marketed at the University and at medical events. Heinäaho is the best advocate for the program, and he has also been marketing the emergency medicine in social media. The target group has also been reached by articles in the press, such as the interview that Heinäaho gave to Nuori Lääkäri magazine. The grapevine has been helpful too.
Aiming to cover emergency clinic services with in-house personnel only
The training program may be taken as part of the health center service of a specializing physician. So far, three physicians have completed the first course, and the next group of almost 50 has begun the training. The long-term aim of HUS Emergency Medicine and Services is to cover all emergency clinic services with in-house personnel only.
The physicians who have completed the emergency clinic training may also be admitted to HUS-rinki, an on-call ring run by HUS Emergency Medicine and Services for its own physicians. HUS-rinki allows flexible working hours for instance for physicians engaged in research.