At the initial healthcare reform implementation stage, the changes will only touch upon the level of primary care in line with the integration of the existing primary care model in Ukraine with European-style family medicine.
Patients commonly receive primary care from professionals such as primary care physicians (general practitioners or family physicians), therapeutists and pediatricians. Primary care physicians are doctors who serve as the first contact for a person with an undiagnosed health concern and provide continuing care of varied medical conditions. This means that primary care physicians, being well aware of the patient’s healthcare records, provide long-term management of chronic conditions, counsel and educate patients on safe health choices and behaviors. In developed countries, primary care professionals treat up to 80% of patients without hospitalization (on an outpatient basis) – they apply modern knowledge, use basic equipment, conduct the most common analysis and prescribe medications.
Ukrainians are now able to freely choose family physicians and pediatricians for their children by signing the New Patient Declaration (a contract with the doctor) that has a stipulated scope of services guaranteed and fully covered by the state. If a patient is not satisfied with a doctor’s performance, there is always the option for terminating the signed contract and finding another family physician. Primary care professionals also issue notes, medical certificates, sick notes and statements of good health for presenting at kindergartens, schools, or to be enrolled in swimming pools, etc.
Primary care is not dependent on one's permanent address anymore, which means that a patient will be able to choose an outpatient clinic and an individual physician regardless of their official place of registration. Our goal is to ensure that each and every Ukrainian family has a dedicated family physician (A Doctor for Every Family!). Patients can now contact a primary care physician for a consultation, an initial examination or basic diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses and medical conditions. Therefore, the chosen family doctors manage and coordinate the patient’s health care needs, including treatment options and referrals to specialists. All this means that patients should have confidence in their doctors, while primary care specialists should be motivated, above all – financially, to provide the highest quality services.