People with simple complaints who turn up at hospital accident and emergency departments on their own initiative cost five times as much to treat as those who visit their family doctor, according to researchers at Radboud University’s medical school.
Patients who think they require emergency treatment are first supposed to visit their doctor or the duty clinic if it is outside office hours.
The researchers looked at complaints which could easily be treated outside hospitals. They found the average hospital emergency department visit costs €256, compared with €47 for a visit to a family doctor. Outside office hours, a doctor’s visit costs an average €92.
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