Putin to governors: ‘Nobody has waived the personal responsibility from you’
Regions were criticised for problems with beds and contracts
Nearly 81% of hospital beds were occupied in Russia by 17 November morning, and a number bigger than this indicator is seen in 46 regions of the country, said Russian Vice Premier Tatiana Golikova to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on 18 November. Over 90% are occupied in 10 regions, more than 95% are in three regions, it is Chuvashia, Oryol Oblast and Sevastopol. Ivanovo, Penza, Samara, Irkutsk and Omsk Oblasts as well as Mordovia and the Republic of Komi are other troubled regions.
Golikova also explained how the federal money allocated to fight coronavirus was spent. Regions signed contracts at 1,9 out of 10 billion rubles. Four regions are a hundred per cent provided with contracts — Bashkiria, Amur Oblast, Perm Krai and Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. 46 regions didn’t sign any contract citing various reasons — from the absence of demand in the market to dragged work with documentation. “We think that these reasons aren’t arguments in such tough conditions and we are asking you to accelerate this work,” Golikova added.
Also, Golikova announced the launch of commercial production of the vaccine against coronavirus developed by Vektor centre. After Sputnik V vaccine receives state authorisation, 58,000 doses will be made commercially, it is planned to make over 653,000 in November and 2,2 million in December. Later, Putin tasked the centre with increasing the number of commercially manufactured vaccines.
The third phase of post-authorisation trials of the vaccine is underway. A permit was obtained on three sites, including in Moscow and Moscow Oblast on 18 November, while another three sites in other regions including Tatarstan will join them. At the same time, the republican Ministry of Health Care told Realnoe Vremya they weren’t aware of the trials that were scheduled.
“Vektor didn’t expect results of post-authorisation clinical trials began to improve the vaccine for its commercial launch. And we expect small amounts to arrive until 10 December already to vaccinate the population of the Russian Federation,” Golikova said.
“To bother and tell off regions we should also help them,” Putin commented on the situation with the number of beds in hospitals in regions.
In reply, Golikova said that the regions were daily provided with help from the government. “Another case is that regions are choosing between helping patients with COVID-19 and sticking to the plan for help to patients with non-infectious diseases. […] The pressure on the medical staff is very high. We aren’t severely criticising regions, we are saying the situation is very complex there.”
After that, Putin addressed regional leaders.
“Dear colleagues, you received huge power to take measures in the fight with the infection. And nobody has waived the personal responsibility for decisions that I hope were made on time or, unfortunately, weren’t made at times. And you shouldn’t embellish the situation. Nobody needs rosy reports, understatements.”
Putin paid attention to reports of the All-Russia People’s Front (below) on the absence of medicines in pharmacies, a long queue for doctors, the impossibility of calling an ambulance — the president urged agencies to solve these problems every hour. At the same time, the president charged the Finance Ministry with supporting those regions that needed money at the moment.
What imperfections the Front found in regional medicine
Chairman of the Executive Committee of the All-Russia People’s Front Mikhail Kuznetsov reported on the situation with health care in regions.
- 30% of the pharmacies representatives of the Front examined don’t have anti-viral medicines recommended by the Ministry of Health Care. The most sought-after one — Favipiravir — is absent in 85 of the pharmacies. 40% of the pharmacies don’t have anticoagulants. The situation with antibiotics is better — only 9% don’t have them.
- Those regions that have already set up free delivery of medicines (it hasn’t been launched only in 42 regions, in Tatarstan it is running only in test mode now) isn’t bad in general — they are delivered on the same day when a diagnosis is made or the next day.
- There are problems with calling a doctor and asking him to come — it is hard to get through to the polyclinic, doctors do not always come on the same day or even the next day. Khabarovsk and Jewish Autonomous Okrug are named among the regions with a difficult situation. The Front offered to deal with providing health workers’ with transport closely as a solution.
- There are problems with getting through to an ambulance — mobile operators say that 18% of users can’t call an ambulance at the first attempt. Patients are also complaining about long expectation in Emergency. The average waiting time is 49 minutes, however, people in some regions are waiting for two hours. Kuznetsov put positive examples too — Tatarstan attracted volunteers to unload the Emergency, which allowed reducing the waiting time.
- Kuznetsov also mentioned that doctors in some regions who had a mild case helped their colleagues on the phone, and this experience should probably be spread. But this phrase caused a strong reaction of Vladimir Putin — he compared the activity of doctors with feats of heroes during the Great Patriotic War and noted that such selflessness can be encouraged, propagated, but it is impossible to oblige someone to do this.
How the government is planning to solve these problems
Then head of the Ministry of Health Care Mikhail Murashko explained some complaints about the Front.
- There were made requirements not to reduce the stock of medicines for an uninterrupted supply of medicines as early as in spring, so the supply in hospitals is stable. While the outpatient part was “in certain tension”, as the minister said. To compensate for a shortage of medicines, the Ministry of Health Care together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and manufacturers are ramping up production and opening new sites.
- Later, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov added that medicine manufacturers were switching to direct delivery of medicines to health care establishments, and the pharmaceutical industry is ready to triple the output of medicines in November-December, first of all, in medicines there is a shortage of.
- 510,000 health workers are working today to help patients with coronavirus, 10% of them are students. Putin offered to encourage them with additional payouts of 7-10,000 rubles a month for medical students who are participating in the fight against COVID-19.
- Mikhail Murashko also said that 8,000 car had already been given to health care workers across the country. However, this isn’t enough — as many as 2,700 cars are needed. The Ministry of Health Care is going to solve this problem with 10 billion rubles that were allocated. The Russian industry is ready to provide additionally 140 ambulances cars and up to 2,000 passenger cars for doctors til the end of the year, Manturov added.
- Putin discussed the situation with transport with participants in the meeting — he particularly pointed out the ineffective spending of federal money allocated to fight coronavirus.
- Russian Vice Premier Dmitry Chernyshenko promised to “quickly solve” the problem with communication with the help of virtual operators.
“The situation across the country in general isn’t simple but controllable. The state of affairs in some regions of the Federation is tough, frankly speaking. The number of cases is growing, the most alarming thing is that the death rate is rising. Regions’ relatively small numbers shouldn’t comfort us — there must arise questions about the quality of diagnostics and timely detection of a disease,” Putin concluded.