Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics in Portugal: Hospital Patient Volume, Resources and Needs – Changes After Ten Years
Keywords:Health Resources, Hospitals, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Pediatrics, Portugal
Introduction: Neurodevelopmental disorders are, in modern societies, the most common chronic pediatric conditions. Many remain in adulthood. Organizing the national health care network to respond efficiently and effectively requires grounded knowledge of care needs. The Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics Society of the Portuguese Society of Pediatrics in order to know the current hospital care reality of Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics, carried out a national survey in 2007, repeating it ten years later.
Material e Methods: In the 2016-2017 biennium, a survey of 45 hospital units was conducted on the patient volume of Neurodevelopmental clinics, the allocation of human resources, and the needs for professional reinforcement.
Results: We obtained a 100% response rate. The total number of Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics consultations rose from 38 238 (2007) to 99 815 (2017). The number of professionals has also increased: pediatricians increased from 82 to 156. A median of 101 children were awaiting first consultation, compared with 185 in 2007.
Discussion: In a decade, the patient volume almost tripled. The reinforcement of professionals, even though it was beneficial, did not increase accordingly; even so, the number of children on the waiting list for their first appointment has almost halved, reflecting the commitment of professionals.
Conclusion: It is noteworthy that the overall improvement of the national response in the area of Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics is remarkable. However, the requested reinforcement of human resources from a multidisciplinary perspective should not be neglected in view of the continuous improvement in care delivery in an area of great chronicity and complexity.
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