What medical care do Ukrainians have from their taxes?



Ukraine’s President has promised a course aimed at healthcare reform. They want first and foremost to change the principle behind funding treatment of patients. Yet for the moment there isn’t even enough money to pay medical workers.

Ukraine retains the old Soviet system with funding calculated per patient bed. How many patients are taken per year, what kind of quality of health care they receive is not the issue. The main thing is where to put the beds which ensure the flow of funding. All reports from healthcare officials therefore speak of beds, not the people who are treated. These latter, the taxpayers who should be the centre of attention, are largely forgotten. This all means that despite a nominally free healthcare system, Ukrainians have to find the money for treatment and medicine themselves, and pay doctors bribes for proper medical care.

The First Deputy Head of the Kyiv Department of Health, Vitaly Mokhoryev, says that an attempt to move away from a system of funding based on the number of beds will be first tested in the capital. The plan in Kyiv is to develop a network of outpatient family medicine where doctors will be paid not for sending people to hospital but for preventing the development of illnesses, prophylactic checks and specific treatment.

In fact, however, there are not enough doctors not just for such prophylactic checks, but also for treating patients, with the average pay of a Ukrainian doctor amounting to 2.5 thousand UAH per month (a bit more than 200 Euros).  30% of those working in primary medicine in Kyiv are pensioners. Young people can’t work in State medical establishments for pitiful salaries.  Most young specialists therefore find work in private clinics or open their own practice.

It thus follows that nothing else remains but to endure massive queues in hospitals and clinics, pay doctors bribes and hope that the next government will provide decent medical services for the tax they pay. Human rights activists point out that Ukrainians know virtually nothing about their medical rights. According to the latest report: Human Rights in Healthcare, people with HIV and drug addicts are the most likely to suffer violations of their medical rights. Violations of medical rights affect people with HIV or drug addicts.

At the same time, lawyers say that people are more and more likely to approach the courts in order to defend their rights. According to Iryna Senyua from the Medical Law and Bioethics Foundation, there is no official statistics about the number of approaches to the court. People most often try to stand up for their rights through criminal and civil court proceeds. She says there have already been cases taken to court resulting in compensation for material and moral damages.  Human rights activists advise Ukrainians to reflect more often on whether they are receiving adequate medical care for their taxes. 

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