Denmark, where GPs get the respect they deserve

2 minute read

A land of fable and fairytale and a primary care system where general practice is ‘the best job in the world’.

If you’ve ever dreamed of moving to Scandinavia today’s Tea Room might push you over the edge.

Danish GPs earn more, are very highly regarded and get 10 paid days a year to research and boost the quality of the nation’s healthcare. What’s more, healthcare data is transferred seamlessly between all levels of care regardless of which patient management system a doctor uses.

Our two guests today discuss Denmark’s extraordinary healthcare model and what underpins its success.

Professor Jens Søndergaard is a GP, clinical pharmacologist and, among other research affiliations, leads the General Practice Research Unit at the University of Southern Denmark. He says that a part of a successful healthcare model is financial remuneration.

“GPs get a far better salary than hospital specialists. If you want an efficient healthcare system, you need very good doctors who see it as a very interesting career and also financially rewarding,” Professor Søndergaard says.

Our second guest, Professor Janus Laust Thomsen, is also a Danish GP and is clinical professor and leader of Center for General Practice at Aalborg University. He says a key part of Denmark’s success is the equivalent of a single patient identifier number. This enables “cradle to grave” management of patients who are listed with a GP as soon as they are born.

Single patient identifier numbers also enable advantageous funding contracts. Professor Thomsen says that every general practitioner in Denmark has a funding contract with the government which is negotiated by a central organisation for GPs.

“We have around 30% reimbursement on listed patients and 70% reimbursement on activities. This structure for reimbursement is negotiated each four years. We also have a very mature digital health system that, combined with our negotiations, gives room for very fast healthcare implementation,” Professor Thomsen says.

It all sounds very hygge and you will be forgiven for looking up flights to Copenhagen after listening today. 

You can listen and subscribe to the show by searching for “The Tea Room Medical Republic” in your favourite podcast player.

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