Secondary care

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Secondary care
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Secondary care is professional health care provided by facility or specialists, such as radiologists or cardiologists, who did not have any contact with patient in the first place, but were referred by primary care medical workers. Sometimes it requires further diagnosis (after primary care) and treatments usually using specialized laboratory facilities and equipment, and sometimes there is need for quick and direct treatment.

Who is secondary care for?

Secondary care is for patients with diagnosed issues such as serious and severe illness, injuries and more. These conditions are less frequently experienced by most patients with the need for specialized medical care in the hospital emergency department, but are well known, and common for the secondary care medical personnel.

What secondary care requires?

Due to the need for quick action there is main need for skilled personnel attendance during:

  • intensive care
  • surgeries
  • childbirth
  • radiation therapy and others, such as medical imaging services

Specialists working in secondary care area need to be:

  • remarkably specialized
  • have great knowledge in certain field
  • and always be ready for action

Secondary care areas

Breast areas:

  • mammography
  • ultrasound
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC)
  • core-needle biopsy
  • triple assessment

Also used in:

  • Cardiology
  • Ear, nose and throat illnesses
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Haematology
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pediatrics
  • Renal Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Urology
  • Vascular Surgery

The differences between primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary care

Primary care is preventive care, first call diagnosis and treatments for most common health problems. When there are some complications with diagnosing or treatment possibilities then primary care personnel referrals patients upon to secondary care where all the specialists are and can be done in most full-service hospitals. Further if the problem is unusual and beyond second care specialists patient is referred to tertiary care. This is something that can be provided mostly in different speciality facilities. Tertiary care is needed in health needs such as open heart surgery. Last but not least, there is quaternary care that is for most complex level of surgical and medical care, usually it is provided at research institutions or universities.


Author: Mateusz Fudala