Large amount of patients per general practitioner becoming a problem for General Health Insurance in Aruba

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As they had been doing for a few months, last July the association of general practitioners of Aruba (HAVA) called attention to the huge amount of patients that each of them has under their care, highlighting the problem that Aruba doesn’t have enough general practitioners, and each of them has an average of 2,300 patients under their care.

In a press release, HAVA points out that in order to make sure that the patient can receive the quality of care that the patient needs from their family doctor, stakeholders need to work together to realize a quantity of patients that the general practitioner can handle in a sustainable manner.

“HAVA’s general practitioners want to reach a situation where the primary care system is not overloaded, so that they, as specialists in their field of work, can provide the best care possible. The experience right now is that because of the expansion of the amount of care being requested, additional administrative responsibilities and demands for quality, there is not enough time for each patient to receive the care that they deserve. This is alarming and HAVA is asking for attention to be paid to this issue.”

The doctors association also indicated that “only together we can arrive to a durable situation with the goal of improving our healthcare in Aruba, where all parties involved will benefit.”

Regarding this development, PR for the General Health Insurance AZV, Solange Tchong, during an interview expressed that general practitioners remain as a challenge, because there are many of them that are at full capacity, limited availability, and this is a challenge particularly for patients when they say they want to change doctors.

AZV allows this, there are options for example when a person changes their address from San Nicolas to Playa, but it remains a challenge because the general practitioners are not easily found. Tchong assured that AZV is aware of the issue.

“Together with HAVA we are trying every time to come closer to each other, to continue talking and discussing the issue of the amount of patients registered for each general practitioner. This issue has our attention, and we are even trying to find a possibility to organize this in a different way, making it more efficient and maybe even more helpful for AZV’s clients”, Tchong commented.

AZV has been showing development in their AZV phone app, called ‘Digital zorg pas’, where the clients can have their health insurance card from AZV in a digital format. According to Tchong, currently they have 66,000 clients registered. They also have parents who have registered their children. She said they also have a service for older adults, who are not very skilled with their smartphone, where they are available to help the person on the phone or in person at their offices in Rumbastraat.

“What’s important is that once you have the AZV app, we make sure to give you notifications in case there is any information from AZV, we publish it on the app. We are happy with this and we hope that more clients will download the app”, she said.

Regarding medical care, in case a client feels that they are not receiving sufficient care when they are suffering from illness or injury, AZV will look into it, according to AZV’s director, Edwin Jacobs.

“If you can find a better solution abroad, it means we will send you abroad. But mainly it is a specialist that gives the order to send a patient abroad for exceptional cases, where the clients make the request to go abroad and they go”, he said.