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Moscow doctors demand healthcare system be more effective, accessible

November 02, 2014, 20:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Speaking at the rally, doctors expressed worries that the system of healthcare optimization could prevent citizens from receiving professional medical assistance on the immediate and free basis

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MOSCOW, November 2. /TASS/. Several hundreds of Moscow doctors gathered for a rally on Sunday to demand the healthcare system be made more effective and accessible for the Muscovites.

Doctors and patients, who also took part in the rally, came against reducing bed capacity in clinics, closing some medical institutions, cutting personnel and expanding commercial services for patients.

Speaking at the rally, doctors and patients expressed worries that the system of healthcare optimization announced by the Moscow authorities could prevent citizens from receiving professional medical assistance on the immediate and free basis.

“Healthcare must not be financed from the only source - the Compulsory Medical Insurance City Fund. One must not ‘reduce healthcare to penury’ because we talk about the most valuable thing that the person has - health,” one of the rally’s organizers, Alla Frolova, said.

Frolova, who is a coordinator of the public movement Together for Decent Medicine, stressed the need to preserve medical institutions in the Russian capital.

Ambulance’s emergency doctor Andrei Eksler said the reform of healthcare system should be conducted deliberately. He called for attentively treating specialists and not for eliminating clinics.

Doctor of the First City Clinic Syomen Galperin said no emphasis should be laid on polyclinics by reducing patients in clinics. “Polyclinics are only the auxiliary element. No professional examinations can be made there for prescribing treatment,” he said.

Many participants in the rally put on white coats on tops of their parkas. The temperature in Moscow reaches zero degrees.

Earlier, the Russian Audit Chamber decided that in 2013 commercial services in Moscow had increased practically twofold as compared with 2012. The plan for rendering emergency medical aid was not been implemented, the Audit Chamber said.

In 2013 the bed capacity of medical organisations subordinated to the Moscow healthcare department decreased by 4.4% (from 81,000 bed capacity in 2012 to 77,400). The number of treated patients was reduced in Moscow clinics. But commercial medical services grew by 1.8 times in 2013 as compared with 2012 and reached about $155 million. The number of patients, who received medical aid in clinics on a paid basis, has increased by 35.5%

“Due to the fact that the grow of commercial services has been noted in the state medical organisations, which are involved in a territorial programme of state guarantees, with the use of bed capacity, the reduction of medical assistance within the framework of compulsory medical insurance can prove the replacement of free medical assistance by commercial services,” the Audit Chamber said.

Commenting on the situation, Moscow Vice-Mayor for Social Issues Leonid Pechatnikov told TASS that he knew about the Audit Chamber’s data.

“Yes, I saw this document. I spoke at a session of the Audit Chamber. Most of these claims were eliminated at once,” he said.

Commercial services grew in the capital because the people’s well-being increased. “One can undergo necessary medical treatment on a paid basis and not to wait for several days. Probably, more people can afford to pay for medical services,” Pechatnikov said.

The Audit Chamber’s analysis proved that in 2013 federal standards for emergency calls had been exceeded. The plan for rendering first medical aid was not fulfilled in 2013, it said.

Medical aid in Moscow day facilities turned out to be 2.7 times lower. “This data can prove imbalance of medical aid by its forms and types, and the ineffective activity of organisations providing first aid, primary care and special aid, the insufficient development of first medical aid in day facilities,” the Audit Chamber said.

Pechatnikov said, “The Audit Chamber did not check into matter”. “In fact the number of first aid calls was reduced in Moscow when the number of emergency calls increased. The thing is that a person, who needs first medical aid, calls to 03. A duty doctor himself decides what car should be sent: first aid or emergency aid,” he said.

“Emergency aid is three times cheaper than first aid because the cost of equipment is much less,” Pechatnikov said.

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