Doctors, patients, activists and concerned people went on a peaceful protest “Picked bones for doctors and patients: the Cabinet of Ministers, stop cutting health care budget!” in front of the Government building demanding to increase the health care budget for 2021. The police did not allow doctors and patients even to approach the COM building.
Every year, instead of a full budget for health care the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine throws ‘leftovers’ to the patients. Money for law enforcement agencies and for roads is always there, but never for medicine.
Today, the police got frightened even of the bones brought by the patients and doctors to the Cabinet of Ministers as a symbol of the budget 2021. The authorities turn a blind eye to the unpleasant truth – they don’t care much about people’s lives. None of them intends to change this situation and increase the health care budget. It is easier to close the eyes behind the doors of their comfortable offices and to form the police barrier around the building to stop the activists“, said Dmitry Sherembey, Chairman of the NGO 100% Life.
Last week members of the Parliament of Ukraine supported the health care budget increase. They added UAH 102 billion for health care reform and UAH 7.7 billion for procurement of medications for the seriously ill patients. The Law on Budget 2021 was passed in the first reading.
Now the health care budget entirely depends on the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Prime Minister Denis Shmygal. They have the sole power either to approve the health care budget or cut it.
The patient community and the involved activists went on a public protest, because they have already seen how the Government led by Denis Shmygal wastes money allocated to fight coronavirus, takes money away from cancer patients, does not support the health care budget increase.
“The Cabinet of Ministers proposed to increase funding for the Program of Medical Guarantees (Health Care Reform) by UAH 27 billion in the first draft health care budget for 2021. This is extremely small, as this money will be depreciated by inflation, the government’s planned minimum salary increase and the fight against the pandemic. Minimum salary of health care workers will increase at the national level but this will not change the situation: salaries of doctors, especially in the specialized care, will not change significantly. For the new funding mechanism to work in the health care sector, it is necessary to increase the tariffs of the National Health Service of Ukraine for medical services every year bringing them closer to the real cost of these services. In this way, hospitals will be able to provide competitive salary growth for health professionals and improve the quality of services for the patients. We don’t see money for this in the budget for 2021”, said Yulia Brykulska, Head of the NGO “Medical Leaders”.
For thousands of families of seriously ill patients, increase of the budget for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices is an opportunity to get medicines, and thus to live. Medicines are very expensive and patients do not have so much money. They take bank credits, get into debts to somehow survive. They die if they don’t find money.
“My daughter Eva has rare form of epilepsy. She is 2 years and she cannot hold her head up unsupported, does not smile and suffers 3-4 attacks a day. There are hundreds of thousands of people with epilepsy in Ukraine. They need medications procured by the government to get their treatment. For already several months we have been asking the authorities: don’t cut the budget! Let at least some parents see the smile of their child and forget about seizures. The government sees only silent figures on paper and these figures hide us, the living humans beaten by fate and circumstances. Don’t cut the budget and life of my child and hundreds of thousands of such patients”, said Niya Nickel, the mother of a child with epilepsy.
Previously, the patients’ community has explained to the Governmentmembers the importance of additional funding for health care.