One month diagnosis guarantee will pay off, study suggests
A joint study by chamber of commerce Dansk Erhverv and labour union FOA has estimated that the country could save over 5 billion kroner a year in reduced sick days if the health service can give a diagnosis to the sick within 50 days of their first medical consultation. The study comes as the government this week unveiled its own plan to issue a pledge of a diagnosis within 30 days.
Dennis Kristensen, the president of FOA, said that in addition to saving money, such guarantees would help balance the equality of the healthcare system.
“Today there is inequality because people in certain areas with a good education and a good job can argue their way to better care, while unskilled people in low-wage jobs must endure long waiting times,” Kristensen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “The diagnosis guarantee will end that inequality.”
The government's proposal has received the backing of the nation's five healthcare regions and many doctors. Detractors, such as Torben Mogensen, the deputy director of Hvidovre Hospital, argue that the plan will not save money.
“On the contrary, it will be more expensive. A set waiting time is actually good because many illnesses can disappear in time,” Mogensen told Jyllands-Posten. “A guarantee will mean considerably more examinations and that will lead to a massive increase in costs.”
Non-profit labour market pension fund PensionDanmark helps some of its account holders to a quick diagnosis and treatment, akin to the one month diagnosis guarantee that the government has proposed.
The company's managing director, Torben Möger Pedersen, argued that Mogensen’s evaluation is incorrect.
“The guarantee won’t mean more examinations, but rather that we shorten the waiting time between,” Pedersen told Jyllands-Posten. “A shorter wait translates into less sick day costs and we also avoid people getting more ill as they wait around for a diagnosis.”