Ombudsman for patients’rights proposed
Over sixty percent of Russians lack access to free medical treatment. This figure was obtained as a result of a survey carried out as part of the project of the Anti-poverty Coalition’s project called ‘To Health through Knowledge’.
The organisers presented the outcome of the project at a round table on access to medical treatment for the less well off citizens of the Russian Federation held at the Institute of Urban Economics. Representatives of more than twenty organisation members of the coalition from eight Russian regions took part. ‘The public have been guaranteed a medical aid programme at federal level but are forced to pay for medical services which are supposed to be free according to the legislation in force.’ stated coalition expert Maxim Yegorov. For the purpose of changing the situation coalition members have put forward a raft of proposed reforms embodied in recommendations from the round table addressed to federal and regional authorities. In particular, recommendations are included for implementation of the federal guarantees in the sphere of compulsory medical insurance, improvement of health care financing (by way of increasing the share of the federal budget allocated to health to six percent of GDP) and enhancement of the effectiveness of current financing mechanisms.
The experts are recommending that the post of patients’ rights ombudsman be introduced into the Russian Federation at both federal and regional levels (within the framework of the office of the human rights ombudsman) and also that the experience obtained in relation to the creation of community councils within administrative areas be disseminated for the purpose of improving access to, and the timeliness and quality of medical help to the public. Furthermore, round table participants advocated that the level of information provided to citizens on their rights to medical treatment be improved with the help of the NGOs and the provision of regional consultation and advice centres. They
They also recommended the ministry of health when developing a unitary advice system to set up a way for the clients of medical services to register having regard to the experience of ‘alternative registration’ of Russian citizens without official registration possessed by the NGO ‘Night Shelter’ in St Petersburg.
Vitaly Kartamyshev (‘To Health through Knowledge’ project) Tel: 00 7 (499) 246-49-44; website www.besplatmed.ru