Pham Van Tac, director general of the Department of Organisation and Personnel, spoke to Suc khoe va Doi song (Health & Life) newspaper about the ministry's plan to renew its public services.
What is your assessment of the positive changes in service attitude of Vietnamese health workers in 2015?
One of the targets set by the public health sector in 2015 was to create a breakthrough in service towards their patients.
To ensure that the target was achievable, we organised many training workshops for health workers nationwide. As a result, many patients told us in our inspection visits to hospitals that they were happy with the services they received, including helpful attitudes from security guards.
One of the measures implemented to get quick feedback from patients and their family members about the service and attitude of our health staff is that we have set up toll-free hotlines in many hospitals.
In addition, we also cut down the health examination protocol from 12-14 steps to half that.
Here and there a few people still complain about some health workers' poor attitude towards their clients. Does your ministry have any plans to further improve health worker services in 2016 and beyond?
I can say that by now all health facilities affiliated to the Ministry of Health have committed to improving their service towards their clients. Thirty-eight out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide have established their Steering Committees to reform their service attitude towards their patients, but I think it will take time for all health workers to put these ideas into practice.
However, the ministry vows to step up inspection visits to ensure the goal of giving the best care to patients will become daily practice for all health practitioners.
In addition, we have charted out a road map to reform the financial mechanisms to attract more patients to come to our health facilities for either checkups or treatment. As we all know, this is a very important source of income generation for us to improve the livelihood of our health workers – and as leverage for us to encourage them to provide higher quality services to their patients.
Parallel with giving awards to people who show high performance, we also hand down sanctions to anyone who has violated the working regulations.
What are the main points in the administrative reform process that the ministry will focus on in 2016?
First, we'll try to make patients happy with our services whenever they come to us.
Second, we'll continue with our financial reforms in public health facilities, particularly in public hospitals.
Third, we'll continue to reform the administrative procedures for health insurance, particularly the application of IT to health examinations and treatments.
Fourth, we'll conduct the first survey on patient satisfaction with health worker service nationwide.
And finally, in 2016, the health sector will start to develop a comprehensive proposal to improve the quality of health examinations and treatments to present to the Prime Minister for approval. — VNS