Staunton, August 22 – Vladimir Putin doesn’t often admit a policy he has been closely associated with has failed, but he has done just that with regard to medical ‘optimization,’ a program intended to improve efficiency but one that has left doctors angry because there is less money for them and patients furious because they face greater difficulty getting care.
At a meeting this week, the Kremlin leader said that “patients justly are complaining about poor conditions and long lines to see doctors and specialists, and medical workers are dissatisfied by their level of pay and overwork.” The government must respond by October 1 with medical “modernization” in place of the failed “optimization.
Andrey Konoval, the vice president of the Action Medical Union, says the most important thing in Putin’s remarks is the word “failure,” a word he has uttered only because of “the Italian strikes” doctors have organized across the country and the questions they and patients submitted to Putin’s Open Line program (nakanune.ru/articles/115414/
But it has hit people in the big cities as well, including those needing special care and no longer able to obtain it (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/06/kremlin-health-care-optimization.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/03/putins-health-optimization-will-force.html).
Consequently, this has become an issue everyone can understand and one that is contributing to Putin’s declining ratings. But if his latest admission of failure does not lead to real change, he beyond any doubt will face more problems in this area, including more strikes by doctors and protests by patients.