In August 2014 eye specialist Marios Dionysiou founded Aktys Ögonklinik in Malmö, one of few private eye clinics approved by the free healthcare choice (Det fria vårdvalet) in Region Skåne. Less than a year later the clinic has ten employees who are doing everything from fundoscopy and laser treatment to plastic surgery of eye lids. And now, it looks like the clinic will need even more space and employees.
– It feels good that we exist. The hospitals have had a tough situation for a long time and before this, patients could be sent here and there waiting to be treated. As a small clinic we’ve decreased the administration and can help patients without delay. We’re focusing on the patient and increased quality of the healthcare. Since we accept emergency patients it also takes some pressure of both the ER and 1177. For instance, we have a really good relation with the eye clinic at SUS who also got a VIP phone number to us. We have all equipment needed and can do a great deal of operations. There are only a few cases that we need to refer to the hospitals, says Marina Dionysiou.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
– Mainly practical things that you haven’t even thought about before, like choosing phone and it-solutions. But then the whole process of starting up has been hard work. It takes a lot of time and commitment, but Marios has been wanting this for such a long time, and is really passionate about offering great care to the patients. That makes you work hard. This is not just a profession, you have to want to help people, says Marina Dionysiou.
What kind of support have you received?
– In the beginning we got support from ALMI, then from Ann-Sofie Frey at Innovation Skåne and Region Skåne’s Entrepreneur program, we continue to see Ann-Sofie to get her input on things. A stabile collaboration with Region Skåne and having many patients already from the beginning, has made it easier. But recruiting the right people has been a challenge, says Marina Dionysiou and continues:
– Every person you bring in, becomes an ambassador for the clinic and really needs to want to work here. All new employees have to be informed about what we stand for and how we work. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit. Then again there aren’t that many specialists out there to choose from. To work with eye disorders you need experience and specific knowledge. A regular nurse can’t just fill in.
Marina believes in an extended collaboration between the private and public eye care, maybe even when it comes to recruitment and staffing.
– There should be more people being educated within eye care. But one could also imagine to share personnel between private and public clinics. There seem to be a beginning of a change of attitude. More people are becoming curious of working in the private sector. Then again it might not suit all, but it is a good thing that more want to try out both worlds. We kan continue to develop and learn from each other. We have to see each other as partners and not as competition, says Marina Dionysiou.
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