Healthcare Reforms as part of EU Association

The PERC, in cooperation with the ILO and the European Federation Public Service Unions, organised a seminar on the healthcare system reform processes in the context of the European Association on 16-17 May in Kiev.

The meeting was opened by Grigory Osovyi, Chairperson of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine, and Mikhailo Volynets, Chairperson of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine and chaired by Victoria Koval, Chairperson of the Healthcare workers union of Ukraine.

Mathias Maucher, EPSU policy advisor, introduced relevant EU directives and frameworks, which should be implemented in Ukraine in line with the Association Agreement with the EU. The AA foresees cooperation on healthcare reforming to ensure quality and sustainable health services, and particular underlines the necessity to ensure social dialog process in designing and implementation of these reform processes. Georgian and Moldovan trade unionists presented the results of the healthcare reforms in their countries.

Representative of the government of Ukraine introduced the main elements of the proposed healthcare system that was heavily criticized by the participants due to non-systemic, non-transparent, and money saving approach of the planned reforms. It foresees privatisation of healthcare facilities and commercialisation of medical service. The healthcare, once given in private hands, becomes prohibitively expensive, and poor citizens are unable to pay for it. Moreover, this means that the policy of healthcare commercialisation, being implemented under the IMF pressure, is vicious. Public investments in healthcare pay off for a sustainable economic development.

Replacement of the public healthcare by commercial healthcare will not solve, but only will increase problems of the doctors and patients, create conditions for dictate by business in one of the most important public sectors. Public investments in health care also pay off for a sound economic development, can help to prevent disabilities or early retirement and can promote healthy lifestyles. Today, the very right of citizens to free healthcare, guaranteed by Article 49 of the Constitution of Ukraine, is under threat.

The government was urged to engage in open and genuine dialog with the social partners to make sure the interests of medical workers and citizens of Ukraine are duly taken into account in any reform. The participants demanded to harmonise all provisions of healthcare reform with the social partners in accordance with the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.