“Regret and shame” – PM Mishustin reacts to the dire state of Russia’s regional hospitals
The post-Soviet fallout left many Russian public services in a mess, as the state itself teetered on the brink of collapse and a new capitalist ideology led to sudden shifts in priorities. The area of healthcare suffered badly.
Doctors were poorly paid if they were paid at all and infrastructure investment disappeared. However, in the past two decades, as the country stabilized, things have improved dramatically. Hospitals have been modernized, especially in big cities, while there’s been a rapid increase in medical tourism and a sustained increase in life expectancy.
This might make one think that the whole country is reaping the rewards of improved healthcare. Unfortunately, in many, more distant regions, the state of medical services often still leaves a lot to be desired.
Russia’s new Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin saw this first-hand on Tuesday. During a visit to an emergency hospital in Kurgan, a small city in the southern Urals, he declared that the state of the facility caused him to feel only “regret and shame.”
“It is very sad that the hospital is in this state. It is neither possible to be treated here, nor, probably, to work at a high level,” he lamented.
Mishustin promised to allocate 200 million rubles ($3 million) for renovation and new equipment at the hospital. The building, built in the 1980s, had seen no significant upgrades or repairs for its entire almost four-decade existence. According to Mishustin, funds will be drawn from the government reserve fund.
In addition, the prime minister was asked to help with the purchase of new ambulances and he promised to solve this problem.
The Kurgan Region is one of the most economically depressed areas in the country, coming 81st out of 85 federal subjects in RIA Novosti’s quality-of-life survey this month. More than 19 percent of the population there lives below the poverty line. Kurgan itself took second place in the rating of the worst Russian cities, compiled in 2019 by the by Financial University under the government.
Last August, the Dmitry Medvedev-led government allocated 400 million rubles ($6.1 million) to the Ministry of Health for the construction and reconstruction of hospitals in four regions of Russia. Then the funds were sent to Khakassia, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Kemerovo, and Samara Regions.
Mishustin told employees at the Kurgan hospital that his mother is herself a doctor: “A surgical nurse with many years of experience.”
Later, the prime minister announced that he’d instructed his government to develop individual development programs for the most economically deprived regions of the country, including Kurgan.
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