Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting to discuss the construction, commissioning and operation of high-tech federal medical centres and perinatal clinics


“Since 2005 the number of patients receiving high-tech medical care increased from 60,000 to 290,000. We need to further increase access to such services. We have already increased it fivefold, from 60,000 to 290,000. This is good, but the demand for such services is much higher, and we need to step up our efforts.”

Prime Minister Putin's opening remarks:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

As you know, during the Q&A session yesterday many people raised questions about the quality of medical services and salaries in the industry. Clearly, these issues are of great concern to ordinary people, and they expect healthcare reform to be a top priority of the government.

It's a worthy cause but also a big challenge. Much has to be done in order to develop and carry out large-scale regional programmes to modernise healthcare. We need to overhaul the system of mandatory medical insurance, revive and develop the pharmaceuticals industry, and strengthen Russia's position as a medical equipment supplier, and not only at home – I hope we will also occupy a good place in international markets

We will regularly monitor the progress made on these issues. We will not take a hands-off approach. We will make sure people feel the effect of our efforts in the quality of the services they receive.

Today we will also focus on further plans for high-tech healthcare. There are many issues on our agenda, first of all the construction of new facilities – 14 federal medical centres, 24 perinatal centres and two medical centres based at universities in Moscow and Vladivostok, the ongoing reconstruction of existing federal medical centres, and supplying equipment to 190 regional centres for cardiovascular diseases and cancer as well as to hospitals for victims of motor vehicle accidents.

I'd like to note that since 2005 the number of patients receiving high-tech medical care increased from 60,000 to 290,000. We need to further increase the access to such services. We have already increased it fivefold, from 60,000 to 290,000. This is good, but the demand for such services is much higher, and we need to step up our efforts.

Budget allocations for high-tech healthcare from 2008 to 2013 will total 135 billion roubles.

At a meeting in Tver in August we reviewed the progress made on these issues. In the past four months, another three federal high-tech medical centres opened in Khabarovsk, Krasnoyarsk and Chelyabinsk. One new centre will be commissioned in Tyumen by the end of this year. Next year six centres will open – in Perm, Barnaul, Vladivostok, Kaliningrad, Novosibirsk and Smolensk.

It is important to ensure that these medical centres are as effective as possible. We must avoid a situation where new fully equipped facilities are not operating at full capacity.

During the Q&A session, which I mentioned earlier – I'm sure you have watched it – I spoke with the team from one such centre in Cheboksary. They treat patients from 18 regions, but are already unable to accept more patients – there is not enough room in the wards. Also, according to reports I received from the Ministry of Healthcare, this centre is understaffed. Yesterday I said that generally there is no problem staffing such centres with high-class, young, promising specialists, but this is a problem at this centre for some reason.

The same goes for the medical centres in Penza and Astrakhan. I think the Ministry of Healthcare should help them out, and regional leaders should do everything in their power to ensure that the high-class specialists, which these centres need, have a comfortable standard of living. They should follow the example of local authorities in other regions that take care of housing for such specialists, sparing them the need to think about these issues and deal with them on their own.

Bear in mind that we have been investing huge sums in these centres, and they must operate at full capacity and treat as many patients as possible.

Turning our attention to perinatal centres, four months ago we spoke about how commissioning deadlines for some of them may be missed since local authorities in several regions were failing to meet their commitment to provide their part of the funding. Most of the regions heard the message, responded, and now the situation is improving. Construction work has been expedited. Today builders are finishing the interiors at the sites that were nothing but walls in August.

Ten perinatal centres will be finished by the end of this year. Such centres have recently opened in the Kirov, Rostov and Volgograd regions. Over 200 babies have been born at the Almazov Centre in St Petersburg, which opened in November. However, several regions are still falling behind schedule. These are the Trans-Baikal and Perm territories, and the Amur, Voronezh and Kurgan regions.

Local authorities must understand that we cannot keep delaying the construction of these facilities of critical importance. I am asking the heads of these regions to take all necessary measures to expedite construction. I would also like to remind them that all financial commitments must be met to the letter. I am not going to give any numbers now, although I have them. I will only say that the situation in several regions falls short of our expectations.

Regarding the provision of equipment for perinatal centres, a week ago we discussed the future of Russian manufacturers of medical equipment. Before 2008 we almost exclusively purchased equipment from abroad. In the past two years the situation has changed for the better for Russian companies. Eleven percent of the money to purchase equipment for perinatal centres goes to Russian manufacturers.

For example, the Urals Optical and Mechanical Plant supplies incubators for newborns, pulmonary ventilators and other equipment. I could give more examples, but I'm sure you are already familiar with them. I expect that the new programme for the pharmaceuticals industry and medical equipment manufacturing will help increase the number of such companies.

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