COVID-19 crisis – Why the healthcare does so bad?

In 2010, the so-called “optimization” of healthcare began in Russia. The stated goal of “optimization” was to get rid of substandard hospitals by making fewer, but better, and incompetent medical staff, by giving their salaries to more competent doctors. Everything looked good on paper. Who doesn’t want new hospitals with first-class equipment, polite and competent doctors who earn good money?! Can you always visit a public hospital, instead of going to a private one, and get the same service, but for free?! Under the Russian constitution, healthcare is free. Will the state be able to fulfill its function and treat the people as it should be? Of course not. I will not give any opinions, just numbers.


Over 15 years, the number of hospitals in Russia has decreased by 2 times – from 10.7 thousand to 5.4 thousand, according to the experts of the Center for Economic and Political Reforms. Hospital beds by about 27.5% – up to 1.2 million. In rural areas, the reduction in places is more noticeable – almost 40%. Polyclinics by 12.7% – up to 18.6 thousand institutions.

In 8866 settlements, where up to 100 people live, there is no access to primary care within walking distance.

865 paramedic – obstetric points are not enough in 43 thousand settlements where up to a thousand people live. And in settlements where up to 10 thousand people live, there are not enough outpatient clinics in 169.


But the workload on doctors and medical staff has gone from 166 people a day in 2000 to 208 people in 2018.

15 minutes are allocated for the patient’s home examination. But there is no norm for the number of people “attached” to the doctor.

In the order of the Ministry of Health on this matter, there are only recommendations: a therapist at the site – no more than 1700 people, a general practitioner – 1200, a family doctor – 1500 people.


The mortality rate of the working-age population from cardiovascular diseases in Russia is 4.5 times more than in the European Union.

38% of Russians in case of illness do not go to the state polyclinic at all (maybe because they do not trust “optimized” healthcare?)


In 2010, healthcare was allocated 3.7% of GDP, in 2018 – 3.2%

For comparison:
Government expenses on medicine in 2018 as % of GDP of various countries
Canada -7.7%
Brazil -3.9%

(Source – Independent Monitoring Foundation “Health”)
The reduction in the number of medical staff and the reorganization of medical facilities, according to the medical workers themselves, led to:
Reduced availability – 75.6%
An increase in the professional workload of doctors – 77.5%
Worsening the quality of medical care – 92.7%


  1. According to the instructions of the former Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova’s, the living cost per person is 11900 rubles, or about 200 dollars.
  2. According to the Survival Index (World Bank), Russia is 122nd with a score of 0.78. Afghanistan, Sudan, Papua New Guinea are also 0.78 This means that among those who are 15 today only 78% of people will live to 60 years old.

This is just one of many awful decisions and one of many reasons why we’ve faced all those terrible things which were described in stories of ordinary doctors in COVID-19 crisis – Heroes wear white. Part 1 and COVID-19 crisis – Heroes wear white. Part 2. Today is 24/11/2020. And I have a bad feeling that those decisions will make this fight against coronavirus even worse in the future. The world is globalized and if one country faces big troubles with dealing with the pandemic, it is obvious that its neighbors are next.

At least the news about different kinds of vaccine make the things brighter. But we’ll speak about exactly Russian vaccine later.

Take care!

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