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Informal patient payments in oncology practice

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Author(s): Fomenko, Tetiana | Stepurko, Tetiana

Journal: Tobacco Control and Public Health in Eastern Europe
ISSN 2222-2693

Volume: 2;
Issue: S1;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: informal patient payments | oncology practice

ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND: In Europe, new cases of cancer are diagnosed in 4 million people yearly, of whom 837 000 die. In Ukraine of 160 000 new cases almost 100 000 die. With proper treatment, one third of cancer cases is curable, but informal payments (IPP) in health care limit access to treatment. We aimed to explore the experience of people treated for cancer to identify obstacles in obtaining health care and the expert opinion about health care for cancer patients in Ukraine.METHODS: The study is exploratory. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 convenience sample patients or their relatives as well as with three experts between October 2011 – April 2012. RESULTS. Solicitation or receipt of IPP depends on the organizational culture. Respondents do not mind about IPP, but want this to be their own decision. IPP are often considered a “thank” to the medical staff for the service. The significant percentage of expenditures while in treatment for patients is due to purchases of medicines at their own expense. The problem of a long process of diagnostics and incomplete information by the medical staff about the stage of cancer and possible prognoses are essential for the respondents. According to experts not sufficient number of specialists and equipment for proper diagnosis and treatment is another problem. The attitude of medical staff to the patient with cancer largely depends on the personal features of the staff.CONCLUSIONS: Significant problems perceived by cancer patients are related to purchase of medicines at their own expense, structural and organizational features of hospitals, where they are staying for the treatment. Informal payments largely depend on the personal qualities of medical staff. The government must ensure fairness and equal access in getting care in oncology practice because it mainly affects the health of the nation.

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