President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Sobyanin, we have just discussed healthcare development in the entire country. As I said, there are certain positive trends that we highlighted during today’s meeting, although there are some problems as well.
First of all, the increase in salaries for doctors and medical personnel at various levels has varied from region to region. Overall, it looks good throughout the nation, but it differs depending on the region. Second, the growth for different categories of medical professionals also varies, and here, we have certain issues that need to be resolved.
There are some questions pertaining to financing federal medical centres. I hope that after today’s meeting, these issues will be resolved. But Moscow ultimately holds a special place. I know that you devote a lot of time to developing healthcare. We have even worked on it together in taking measures to provide financing to regions within the framework of the three-year programme.
I would like to hear directly from you how healthcare is developing in the capital – what has been done recently, what has not been done and why, and what you are planning to do in the near future.
The major centres are functioning well and looking excellent but, the strange truth is, many city residents, average Muscovites, go to regular clinics, use regular, average hospitals, where things are not always as nice as they seem on the surface. That is the first issue I would like to discuss today.
And second, we have addressed transport infrastructure development issues many times – the Third Ring Road and everything related to it, including railway service that was slated for development in Moscow, and creating additional opportunities for people living here to resolve these fairly difficult problems that exist in the capital.
Please, Mr Sobyanin, go ahead.
Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin: Mr President, in 2010, when you were still working in the Cabinet, a modernisation programme was adopted, and a good amount of funding was channelled toward it. I made the decision to supplement this funding fifty-fifty – in other words, one ruble of regional funding per ruble of federal funding provided. Overall, the programme turned out well.
It allowed us to fully refit not only the leading clinics (they were already in fairly good condition, as you rightly said), but also regular clinics and hospitals that serve the majority of the population.
Today, ambulatory centres and hospitals in Moscow are equipped at the same level as in European nations – at the level of Great Britain or France; a little worse than Germany, but this is already the European level. And we are talking about functioning equipment. And this equipment allowed us to significantly improve the quality of services we offer to the public.
At the meeting today, you spoke about positive trends in our nation. Moscow is no exception, and we are even moving somewhat more quickly. Mortality among the working population has decreased by 15% in the last three years, while mortality from circulatory diseases, cancer, accidents and respiratory illnesses has decreased 10–30%.
Vladimir Putin: It decreased?
Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, mortality decreased. This is a good indicator. At the same time, in addition to the modernisation programme, we used the money saved to purchase more equipment. New products have been released, such as the da Vinci Surgical System, and we purchased it at less than half its regular price. In Moscow, we have four such systems operating. These are unique systems of a new generation.
But not all hospitals are in proper shape. A significant number of Moscow hospitals are located in historical buildings, and it is practically impossible or very expensive to conduct renovations there. So we have made the decision to build not only clinics, but also major hospital centres. For example, the Morozov Children’s Hospital – the design has been completed, a contract has been signed, and we will begin construction very soon. And we are funding it in the same way: fifty-fifty with the federal government. This will be one of the best clinics in Europe, designed in accordance with European standards. It will essentially replace two major clinics.
Of course, in addition to equipping medical facilities, we need to seriously reorganise and optimise the structure of healthcare, and we need to train staff. This is difficult, mundane work; it is not always popular and can feel thankless. But it is necessary in order for healthcare to work effectively. We are consistently engaged in this work.
As for the Moscow transportation hub, I am very grateful that at an earlier meeting, you identified it as one of the national transport policy priorities, because the transport hub processes 60 to 80% of the nation’s passengers going in various directions. This is not just Moscow’s problem, but rather, a problem for the entire nation, for the nation’s economy.
I think we have made good progress in such areas as metro construction and rebuilding suburban commuter railways. Last year, we have built 12 kilometres of metro lines. I think that this momentum will increase with every year. We have already begun implementing construction of new main tracks along the railway radial lines and the Little Ring Railway. We already have two million passengers per day using these routes. After construction, this number should increase to three million – in other words, this is an enormous passenger flow that needs to have access to adequate transport.
By 2015, if we combine metro and railroad construction (this is combined and called rail transport all around the world), Moscow will be in the first place among the world cities in terms of volumes of construction and commissioning of rail transport and radial lines, as well as metro lines. So this construction is developing well.
We occasionally monitor it at the government level and hold meetings. Naturally, we want the momentum to be even stronger and we want these projects to be financed more quickly, but even if we simply maintain today’s pace, that is already good. So I feel that thanks to your decisions, we are moving forward in this direction.
Vladimir Putin: How much did Moscow ultimately receive from the federal budget to modernise healthcare under this programme?
Sergei Sobyanin: Around 60 billion rubles. And the same amount, or even slightly more, was invested from the regional budget. And if we consider this amount in terms of equipment, Moscow was supposed to receive 40,000 units of equipment. These could include resonance imaging equipment, ultrasounds machines, X-ray machines, etc. Thanks to the money saved, we purchased 65,000 units – in other words, 25,000 more. I think that both the large-scale purchase and price reductions have influenced Russia’s overall market. Russia was considered a second-rate nation; you could sell to Europe for one price, but come to Russia and trade using entirely different prices. We have eliminated many intermediaries and significantly reduced that price, and this has had an overall positive influence on the medical equipment market.
Vladimir Putin: We have been planning to use resources from the reserve fund, the National Welfare Fund, for developing the Moscow transport hub. In order for this to happen, we need to take several steps at the federal level. How is that work progressing currently?
Sergei Sobyanin: I feel that we are making progress.
Vladimir Putin: And how is your cooperation with the Government Cabinet going?
Sergei Sobyanin: This project is related to the so-called Central Ring Road. A small part of it – no more than 10–12 kilometres – passes through Moscow, and first and foremost, it is being financed 100% via public funding.
But, of course, we need additional resources for the entire ring road, including through the National Welfare Fund. And as far as I know, the Government is already prepared to make a decision to provide financing for this project. Construction should begin this year.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, but in order for this to happen, we need the projects to be ready. Are you monitoring this preparation for financing?
Sergei Sobyanin: Project documentation for the first stage is almost complete.
Vladimir Putin: Very well.