Health waiting lists and urgency of change. by Osvaldo Artaza Dean Faculty of Health and Social Sciences University of America

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 Health waiting lists and urgency of change.  by Osvaldo Artaza Dean Faculty of Health and Social Sciences University of America

The health waiting list is a drama for millions of people. Excessive waiting is a reflection of inequality in health, it is unfair to interpret inequality as the existence of avoidable differences, and it becomes a difficult test with serious consequences for the quality of life of the individual and their family.

In Chile, life expectancy and mortality from various diseases are strongly determined by socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender and place of residence. That is why GES, known as Plan Age, arose, which guarantees legislation, opportunity, access, financial security and quality in the face of a set of problems that account for nearly 70% of the burden of disease. Is.

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At that point, legitimate concern arose about what might be happening with non-GES pathology. So the waiting list started being calculated. The first reports indicated a waiting list of about half a million for specialized consultations and a surgery waiting list of over 300,000 people with an average time of about a year. Once the pandemic started, thousands of surgeries and consultations were postponed. As is evident, the waiting list grew.

At present, thanks to the measures promoted, the time has started to decrease and is closer to the pre-pandemic situation. It is clear that the recent successes are not enough, more resources are needed, it is true, but it is not enough. Evidence of the above is that funding for hospitals has tripled in recent decades, staff has increased, but consultations and surgeries have not increased as much.

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With more resources, state policies must stick to measures that create social conditions for a healthy life; providing primary care with human and technical capabilities to prevent damage; changes in hospital management, legal amendments to the old laws governing it, to avoid partisan political meddling in the management selection system that still exists; and strengthening care networks and public-private complementarities; and a reform process that allows the implementation of a jointly financed universal health plan, where opportunities are guaranteed for all problems affecting quality of life according to their severity and impact.

Pointing out the many reasons for outrageous waiting lists, I hope that soon we can tell people that the wait isn’t dependent on the size of your wallet.

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