Patients erected a Monument to the victims of medical populism in front of the Verkhovna Rada. The symbolic crosses with nailed T-shirts bearing the names of the deceased people, who died just shy of treatment, appeared during a public action in front of the Parliament. This is the way the patients demanded from the MPs to vote for bills on medical reform before July 14, that is, before the parliamentary recess. Otherwise, the medical reform will be put off indefinitely.
“Unwillingness of the MPs to vote for the medical reform is populism and gratuitous slap in the face of all voters, says Olga Stefanyshyna, Executive Director of the CF “Patients of Ukraine”. – “Now every other Ukrainian is forced to postpone treatment because the state does not provide it, while the MPs continue their mantras on preserving free treatment. For them these are eloquence performance, for most Ukrainians these are claimed lives of native people, who could have been saved if the reform had started 5 or 10 years ago”.
This plenary week is the deadline for consideration of the package of bills No 6327 and №6604, which will allow launching the medical reform in the next year. If the Verkhovna Rada ignores this package of bills before July 14, the health care reform will be delayed for at least a year. Draft law No 6327 was supported by the Parliament in the first reading and finalized by a working group composed of people’s deputies.
Now the patient community is expecting a positive opinion of the Health Committee and the voting for a package of bills by the Parliament in the second reading.
“Recently, my cousin’s 4-year-old daughter Nastya died because of indifference, unprofessionalism and medical error, said Pavel Polamarchuk, the participant of the campaign. – “More than 1,600 Ukrainians die every day, 400 of which could have been saved once the quality of medical services had been improved. The extinction of Ukrainians as a nation through populism and the lack of political will for change will be the personal responsibility of those who delayed the reform and did not vote for the necessary changes”
It is to be recalled that the patients repeatedly requested the MPs to start medical reform and to vote for bills proposed by the Ministry of Health. Currently, the working group of the Parliament Health Committee is discussing almost 900 amendments submitted by the people’s deputies. Patients fear that MPs may bury the essence of the reform under the mountain of amendments and adopt entirely different laws or simply killed the bills by populist slogans about “preserving free medicine”, which does not exist in Ukraine de facto.
According to the findings of the survey “Cost(LESS) Medicine, 97% of inpatients and outpatients have to pay for the treatment out of their pockets. 49% of patients refuse from treatment because they have no money, 44% of patients have to sell their property or borrow money to cover the cost of treatment. Only one third of Ukrainians seek treatment when they are sick. The reasons are a high cost of treatment and mistrust in doctors.
Representatives of the patient community are ready to unite into the national network and to continue their struggle for the reform, and therefore for life, if this week’s populism defeats the common sense and the demands of Ukrainians.
“We crossed the point of no return. As patients, we know the price of lost time. It is time for the MPs to take responsibility and choose on whose side they are – people or the corrupt system”, says Dmytro Sherembei, Head of the Coordination Board of the All–Ukrainian PLWH Network,– “During this week, we will see if the deputies can overcome the political impotence and populism. If not, I think the society will have to choose more radical methods of influence. “
During the action, public organizations forwarded the collective appeals to Andriy Parubiy, the Speaker of Parliament, asking for a medical reform to be considered by the Verkhovna Rada this week before July 14, while parliamentary leaders were approached with a request to support these bills in the session hall.
“Sooner or later, each of us will fall sick and die. The modern statistics state that one in four people will have cancer. Therefore, medical reform is the answer to the question on a level of care each of us can expect. So we have to speak about it very loudly “, said Iryna Litovchenko, co-founder of the ICF “Tabletochki”.
Previously, patients carried out actions in front of the Parliament, demanding the adoption of laws launching the medical reform . After that the Parliament passed the bill No 6327, which radically changes the system of health care, in the first reading. Through sabotage from the Head of the Health Committee Olga Bohomolets, the NGOs even demanded her resignation.
As a reminder, the health reform introduces a fair relationship between a patient and a doctor and is based on three main principles. First, the reform proposes to withdraw from the Soviet principle of paying for beds. This means that the state pays for quality medical services and a patient chooses in which health facility to receive the medical services. This launches the ‘money follows the patient’ principle. Second, the health reform introduces the guaranteed package of medical services with a list of health services to be free for all patients. The state will always pay 100% for emergency car, for a family doctor, GP, pediatrician and for palliative care for the terminally ill patients as well as for childbearing. Cost of specialized medical care and diagnosis will be shared by patients and the state according to the clearly specified rates unified for all Ukrainians. Third, all patients will have equal access to medical care regardless of their social status and income. Every Ukrainian will receive the same medical care as an MP or a minister and will consult the same doctors. It is expected that the official salary of the Ukrainian doctors will be essentially increased due to the changes in the health care financial system specified in the package of bills.
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