Creation of first-referral hospitals is the priority task within the medical reform, Health Minister Olekandr Anishchenko told the concluding press conference, ForUm correspondent reports.

According to the Minister, the innovation is being tested in four pilot regions - Vinnitsa, Dnipropetrovs'k, Donetsk regions and thecity of Kyiv. "As of today, 160 first-referral hospitals have already been opened in these regions: 27 in Vinnitsa region, 53 in Dnipropetrovs'k region, 71 in Donetsk region and 9 in Kyiv," he informed.

"80% of the population must be treated in outpatient departments or first-referral hospitals. We must make first medical aid closer to people," he added.

Anishchenko informed that pilot regions will be given 327 million hryvnais for purchasing transport and medical equipment and another 200 million for ambulances. "415 million hryvnias we will use to buy medical equipment for all regions of Ukraine. The pilot regions will be given 797 million hryvnias for improving the resource base, and additional 150 million for X-ray devices," he added.

Anishchenko also paid attention to improvement of medical profession prestige. "We have increased social guarantees (five official salaries) for medical workers, namely for graduates sent to work in rural areas, for phthisiatricians and some other categories," he said.

The Minsiter also reminded that the parliament introduced criminal responsibility for producing and storing forged medicaments.

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