Russian Doctors: Social Attitudes and Strategies for Adaptation
Dep. of Sociology of Profession Inst. of Sociology of the Russian Acsdemy of Science Moscow, Russia
Considerable changes are taking place in the delivery of medical services in Russia in the wake of the socio-political transformation of the country. Currently, there is a growth of the for profit sector in the delivery of medical care, where higher salaries are paid to physicians. The state sector is under stress and there is considerable dissatisfaction with the conditions of service and quality and availability of services for patients seeking treatment who do not have the ability to pay for care. The research aims to study the attitudes of Russian physicians to these changes and their strategies for adaptation. The methods used in the research include the use of existing statistical and other primary data sources; the use of structured questionnaires to collect data from a representative sample of male and female doctors in the three regions; the use of content analyses of all Russia weekly "Medizinskaya Gazeta" and some other periodicals in order to get the information on the situation. Qualitative interviews are undertaken with a smaller sample of physicians to explore understandings of change, and the threats and opportunities. Focus groups are used to collect data. The politics, the culture and the social structure of the Russian society are not intimately interrelated any longer: changes in one of them do not automatically result in changes in the others. The professional structure has become relative and dynamic. New occupations emerge, and the old ones transform. Professional status is inconsistent.