The Ministry of Health drafted a new circular consisting of 12 articles regarding measures against the COVID-19 pandemic for health service providers on March 20, 2020 (“Circular“). The Circular’s measures aim to minimize patient density in hospitals and reduce the heavy workload of health personnel. All hospitals meeting the relevant conditions under the Circular are designated as pandemic hospitals.
According to the Circular, the Ministry of Health hospitals, public and foundation university hospitals, as well as private health organizations, must carry out certain acceptance and treatment procedures for patients seeking treatment at health institutions until these patients’ COVID-19 diagnoses are confirmed.
Hospitals with (i) two doctors who are infectious diseases and clinical microbiology, thoracic diseases and internal medicine specialists; and (ii) Level 3 intensive care beds for adults are pandemic hospitals. Hospitals with Level 2 intensive care units for adults must prepare themselves to act as pandemic hospitals in case existing pandemic hospitals cannot sufficiently respond to public health needs. Hospitals that are not pandemic hospitals will take the necessary measures and transfer patients with COVID-19 to the relevant hospitals as determined through a transfer algorithm.
The Circular sets out additional obligations regarding measures taken within the hospitals. Accordingly, hospitals must form a Pandemic General Coordination Team, determine a separate clinic and an intensive unit for pandemic patients and reserve these clinics and units for pandemic cases.
The Circular also authorizes Provincial Health Directorates to change the location of general health personnel within the province.
The Ministry of Health continues to take active steps to protect the public against the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey. All health service providers must comply with the obligations under the Circular and closely follow the Ministry’s announcement in this regard.