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Patients with their needs and interests are at the center of effective healthcare reform - Viktor Liashko

15 March 2024

Today, the development and implementation of an effective healthcare reform is centered on the patient with their own needs and interests. Patient-centeredness is both a priority and a foundation for high-quality, accessible and free healthcare. This was stated by the Minister of Health of Ukraine Viktor Liashko during the presentation of the pilot project “Patient Representative”.

The event was also attended by Natalia Husak, Head of the NHSU, Mykhailo Radutskyi, Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Health, Medical Care and Medical Insurance, representatives of the World Bank, the CHESNO Movement and the Swiss Embassy in Ukraine.

“Today, the key to healthcare reform is the patient with his or her own needs and interests. This is also the foundation for the Medical Guarantee Program. We promptly respond to new challenges caused by the war and expand the list of medical services under the Medical Guarantee Program. Thus, under difficult conditions, the healthcare reform is patient-oriented. However, despite this, patients still do not have complete information about free medical care, examinations, medicines, and the work of medical institutions. That is why, together with our partners, we are announcing the launch of a pilot initiative to raise awareness of people in the healthcare sector - patient representatives,” said Minister of Health of Ukraine Viktor Liashko. “This initiative will create a patient-centered environment in hospitals. This solution can also improve the access of Ukrainians to high quality and free medical care and their knowledge of their options and rights.”

It should be noted that patient representatives are specialists who have successfully completed training and are involved in explaining general issues to patients in healthcare facilities. They are responsible for providing medical services within the framework of the primary care group, assisting in responding to cases of violation of patients’ rights, recording feedback and monitoring the processes of care in the medical facility to improve the patient’s experience and the medical facility itself, etc.

The presence of patient representatives will help reduce the time required to resolve potential issues between the patient and the medical staff.

“Our priority is quality healthcare for patients. That is why every penny from the budget allocated for the Medical Guarantees Program should turn into an affordable and free medical service for Ukrainians,” says Natalia Husak, Head of the National Health Service of Ukraine. “By the way, last year the European Commission set a “homework assignment” for Ukraine to strengthen feedback between patients and institutions. I am convinced that the pilot project will help to realize this. Therefore, I have high hopes for patient representatives. I would like to remind you that the NHSU has a complaints department and a hotline 16-77. Being in touch, answering relevant questions, conveying truthful information - these are the tasks we set for ourselves.”

The direct work of the patient’s representative in the facility will last for two months in the pilot mode, including March and April.

The Patient Representative Initiative is planned to be launched in five healthcare facilities in particular:

  • National Cancer Institute;
  • Kyiv Regional Clinical Hospital;
  • Kyiv City Maternity Hospital No. 6;
  • The First Territorial Medical Association of Lviv;
  • Lviv Regional Clinical Perinatal Center.

People’s feedback on their experience of receiving healthcare services, recorded by patient ambassadors, will play an important role in transforming the healthcare sector. After all, based on the reports of ambassadors, decisions, and changes can be made in medical institutions to improve the patient experience.

The piloting of the project is intended to test the mechanism before its further scaling.

For reference: In each of the selected institutions, the representatives will work in a team of two. For effective work, their place should be located in the facility and be visible to visitors and patients. Throughout their work in the facility, patient representatives will interact with patients: distribute information materials on services guaranteed by the Medical Guarantees Program, collect feedback from patients on the level of satisfaction with medical services, record observations on patient comfort, their interaction with medical staff and each other, etc. The project is being implemented by the National Health Service together with the CHESNO Movement and with the support of the Ministry of Health, the World Bank, and the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine.