Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Making Putin’s Healthcare Optimization Worse, 20 Percent of Medical Facilities in Russian Regions Don’t Have Even One Doctor

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 10 – Vladimir Putin’s healthcare optimization program has dramatically reduced the number of medical facilities in Russia’s regions, but the situation with those that remain is increasingly critical given that one in every five of these medical “points” at present lacks a doctor.

            This problem has arisen because many regions can’t provide adequate incomes for doctors or the opportunity for them to engage in private practice and because the costs of medical training have risen to the point that those who in rural areas can’t recoup this expense (

            But it also reflects a shortage in the number of doctors in Russia today. The government admits that there are 35,000 too few doctors but most medical experts say that want ads for doctors suggest that the real number is far larger. And a recent poll found that four in ten Russians say they haven’t been able to see a doctors when they need to.

            That means in turn that the doctor shortage is now so large that it is hitting urban residents as well. But the real cost of this shortage is that Russians now see doctors less often than they should and that when they finally travel often hundreds of kilometers to do so, they are sicker and less likely to be cured than would otherwise be the case.

            Moscow has responded with a “rural doctor” program that offers enormous subsidies to doctors who are willing to move to rural areas, but it has had mixed results. Some who take advantage of the money which is paid only to get people to agree to move leave as soon as they can because they do not want to live in impoverished rural areas.


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