Wednesday, November 29, 2006

[state medical] some questions about the russian health system

On the topic of the state medical I underwent yesterday, Gavin Ayling asked…What is the point of these compulsory medicals? How does the Russian health service compare to the UK and is it free at the point of use? Ellee also asked…And what happens if you don't go for your appointment?

Both good questions. To answer, having a current medical record is what’s compulsory, not actually yesterday’s fun ’n games. Yesterday just brought all specialists together in one place, away from the houses of sickness and for that reason, on reflection, it was probably the best option of three. If I hadn't gone on the last available day yesterday, I'd have had two other choices:

1] waiting in lines, at different clinics, for each and every specialist over a period of weeks;

2] to have paid about 30% of western prices at a 'platnaya klinika', pay clinic. I glanced at a US site to get a photo for the post and they were advertising the same battery of tests for $1050. With the new affluence in this republic since 2001, many are now doing this sort of thing.

The question of compulsory health checks is one we could argue about – people’s freedoms etc. Some might say it is just window-dressing. Me – I suppose it’s necessary, otherwise I’d never go and have it done and it is nice to know my glucose is 4.6, that my eyes are minus something and that my blood pressure is 123 over 78.

Health insurance is still in it's infancy but it's coming. Many people say that though the new technologies are used at the pay places, they can still give shoddy service. It’s a case of Russia trying to lift itself by its bootstraps and taking two steps forward, one step back. But they are moving forward overall. For how long is anyone’s guess.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Very interesting, James. On the whole, I think compulsory health checks are a good thing.

james higham said...

As long as they're not regimented, perhaps.