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Meeting on healthcare development

February 20, 2014, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin held a meeting on healthcare development and the implementation of presidential instructions to improve the accessibility and quality of medical care.

Taking part in the meeting were Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, Presidential Aide Andrei Belousov, Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,

We met fairly recently to discuss healthcare and set certain targets for the future. Let us see today what we have managed to do so far. Very little time has passed, but we were speaking of very specific measures that had to be taken during the past month.

The first thing I would like to draw your attention to is structural modernisation. We have been speaking of the significance of these measures for quite some time now. I would like to remind you that in my Address to the Federal Assembly last December I also spoke about this. These measures, as I have said, lead to a reduction of unnecessary costs in the healthcare system, which would eventually raise the quality of medical services and make them more accessible for citizens of the Russian Federation.

I gave instructions in January to develop a stage-by-stage plan of restructuring the scope of assistance and to set clear targets, and so on. The main thing is to arrange the implementation of this plan given that the authority largely, if not completely rests with the Russian regions. In this connection, the Government and the Healthcare Ministry should set the regions clear and, most importantly realistic goals.

”Structural modernisation leads to a reduction of unnecessary costs in the healthcare system, which would eventually raise the quality of medical services and make them more accessible for citizens of the Russian Federation.“

It is very important for the regions to understand what needs to be done and how, what it means to upgrade medical facilities. The regional authorities should be able to explain all their actions clearly to those working at these medical facilities and, more importantly to their patients. Clearly, people at every level of authority have to be responsible for what they are doing. Let us talk about this in detail today.

Furthermore, we have raised the issue of federal medical centres’ work twice in the past month. These organisations provide high-tech medical assistance, and we said that its volume must not decrease; on the contrary, it is imperative that it continues to grow. The Government needs to develop a precise, clear model of managing a network of such organisations and conduct structural optimisation wherever necessary. We discussed this last month as well.

Let me reiterate: the large medical research centres that took decades to set up, that treat patients from all over the country, should remain under federal authority. We cannot afford to lose this network, these facilities and their unique capabilities. I would like to stress that I am referring to those centres that can be rightly called the elite of our healthcare system, that have all the necessary resources: most importantly, highly qualified experts and the most advanced equipment and technology. I stress again that we must retain this.

As we said last time, there are probably some facilities that can be transferred to regional authority. However, we need to analyse this and make a balanced decision with due account of these institutions’ needs, the scope of medical aid they provide, their geographical location and, very importantly, the capabilities of the regions in case the Ministry decides to transfer some facility to their authority.

Another subject we will touch upon today is also related to high technology medicine: I am referring to medical aid for residents of restricted areas. The people who live there and who often work in special conditions require special attention, including from the government authorities responsible for healthcare. I already mentioned that conditions in such restricted towns are not always favourable. I would like to hear your proposals on how to resolve this issue.

We also need to return to the matter of funding federal healthcare facilities – something we have also talked about before. Let us agree to revisit this subject at the meeting with Government members on March 5, and discuss the issues that should have been resolved by that time in greater detail.

Let us begin our discussion.


February 20, 2014, The Kremlin, Moscow