They recorded conversations between doctors and patients. The reasons are shocking

They recorded conversations between doctors and patients.  The reasons are shocking

For over a month, conversations between patients and doctors were recorded in Moscow polyclinics. Likely target? “Identification of homosexuals and people seeking abortion,” we read in The Moscow Times.

Medical visits were recorded in the capital’s clinics in Moscow between October 23 and November 29, which was related to the order of the capital’s health department – Depzdrav. Previously, officials assured that the audio recording procedures had been changed to guarantee the safety and anonymity of the materials. They were also supposed to be processed for a month at most.

“Układ”, a daily that examines and describes the functioning of society in Russia and which brings together independent journalists – was established shortly after the invasion of Ukraine began – analyzed this case. Journalists came to shocking conclusions.

Recording conversations may have a different purpose than authorities claim

The recordings may have a different purpose. With their help, the authorities could find out what doctors and other employees of the two clinics, as well as patients, have on abortion and homosexual people (gays and lesbians). Other “sensitive issues” were also analyzed – the editorial staff of “The Moscow Times” describes on the basis of the conclusions reached by “Układ”.

However, Moscow officials claim that recording conversations is an innovation needed to reduce the number of errors made by doctors and improve the quality of medical services offered. “Układ” established (citing sources, among others, in the government) that conversations can be easily searched by entering appropriate key phrases. Not only is the solution very “convenient”, it also gives officials more control.

By searching a specific recording, they can enter a phrase, e.g. “gay”, and quickly find out which doctor said the word and in what context. The same applies to patients who would, for example, ask about “abortion”.

What about medical confidentiality?

Sources of “The Agreement”, including: anonymous doctors draw attention to the issue of professional secrecy, which could be violated by such activities. Patients are asking via social media how to refuse audio recordings of their visits.

The deputy head of the all-Russian trade union of health care workers “Action”, Maria Gubareva, says directly that this initiative violates the “rights and freedoms of citizens”. He points out that the authorities could manipulate health care workers in this way and, for example, not grant bonuses due to previous conversations with patients. Gubareva plans to report the case to the prosecutor’s office.

LGBT community persecuted in Russia

It is worth adding in this context that since 2013, “homosexual propaganda” has been banned in Russia. The LGBT+ community has been persecuted there for years. Late last year, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation stated that the “international LGBT social movement” is an “extremist organization.”

And when it comes to abortion, Russia is aiming to tighten abortion law. Currently, this procedure is legal there.

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