Russian media are awash with fake stories claiming that in an attempt to save on medical costs, Ukraine will fire all feldshers and replace them with paramedics. According to the World Health Organization, a feldsher is a health care professional who provides various medical services limited to emergency treatment and ambulance care/practice.
Ukraina.ru, a most prolific generator of fakes about Ukraine first published this story and was soon followed by such marginal sites as Informburo, times.com,ua, DNR live and others. Even Nashe Misto, a news portal based in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro ran a story with the headline: Feldshers outlawed. Paramedics – we don’t have any.
The source for Ukraina.ru’s story is Ukrainian MP Ihor Shurma of the pro-Russian Opposition Bloc, who announced that as of November 1 the position of feldsher was liquidated and all such personnel should lose their jobs in accordance with a Ministry of Economic Development order #6327.
Mr. Shurma is a long term MP formerly of the disgraced Regions Party of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.
Shurma cited a nonexistent document, the Economic Development Ministry has never issued any order entitled #6327. But there is a law and a Cabinet of Ministers executive order classifying medical professions, according to which all medical professional titles have been streamlined according to international classifications and European Union practice.
StopFake asked Ukraine’s Health Ministry to explain the confusing situation.
The Ministry responded that Ukraine has approved a new classification of professions effective November 1 so that Ukraine’s health care sector reflects international norms. Ukraine has a health system dating back to the Soviet era with job titles that do not correspond to any western equivalents. In accordance with the new classification such job titles as paramedic and doctor of internal medicine will be introduced, yesterday’s feldsher will now be known as a paramedic. The Health Ministry stressed that the new classification does not entail anyone being fired, medical workers will now be using new professional names and will undergo additional training necessary to meet international standards.
Ukraine’s efforts to reform and overhaul its corrupt and overpriced health system are a favorite topic of Russian disinformation and propaganda. Recent fake stories have claimed that reform of the medical sector will drastically increase medical costs in Ukraine and lead to great loss of life.