Viet Nam News
The attitude of medical staff, lacking the spirit of service, is the main reasons behind public dissatisfaction with healthcare services, Health Minister Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến tells the Nông thôn ngày nay (Countryside Today) newspaper.
During a field trip to the Việt Nam National Cancer Hospital (K Hospital), you were told that in many cases, hospital staff had asked patients for money. What can be done so that such sums are not asked of patients?
That patients have to share beds and pay “hard-to-tell” sums of money has always been a matter of great concern in the health sector. The Health Ministry has conducted unscheduled inspections at certain hospitals and directed the Health Strategy and Policy Institute to make independent assessments based on specific criteria.
The assessment of patients’ satisfaction at the K Hospital showed that the hospital’s first centre (in Hoàn Kiếm District) received highest rate of 87.5 per cent while the third one (in Thanh Trì District) ranked the lowest with 51.7 per cent. The figures reflect the reality, honestly and objectively. This is probably due to inadequate arrangement of wards and rooms. Of course, the situation of four patients sharing a hospital bed still exists.
However, as far as I’m concerned the key reason behind patients’ dissatisfaction is the serving spirit and attitude of medical practitioners. When they do not think that healthcare is a service, they ask patients for money and other favours. The Ministry will its intensify supervision and violations will surely be strictly dealt with.
Are you satisfied with the current quality of service at hospitals?
Initially, there have been some positive changes, especially in the attitude of medical staff. But there are still some staff members who are troublemakers and this has been publicised by the media and people.
Personally speaking, I cannot be satisfied. There is a lot of work to be done, and this needs the entire medical sector and general population to work and act together.
The change in attitude of healthcare staff has seen certain improvements, which can be seen from the higher number of positive appraisals from the public and lower number of complaints. Infrastructure, including a green and clean environment within hospital compounds, has also improved. Hospitals have also provided additional waiting chairs, free drinking water, newspapers and fans.
Despite these improvements, it is undeniable that overcrowding is a huge, unresolved issue.
As I said above, certain medical practitioners remain bureaucratic. The Health Ministry will continue taking measures to enhance the quality of services, satisfying patients’ demand.
What breakthroughs can we expect from the health sector towards better care?
I have travelled through 63 cities and provinces nationwide and identified certain issues that need to be addressed.
First and foremost, efficiency or operational capacity of medical centres at grassroots levels has failed to meet real demand, causing locals to seek help from Central-level hospitals, which needs more time and money, and overburdens the latter facilities.
Second, many people only go for health check when they fall sick. So, it is essential to raise the awareness of the whole society that prevention is better than cure.
Additionally, the healthcare sector should attempt to make sure that every citizen has his or her health monitored and managed right at the local medical centre.
More importantly, hospitals must be green and clean to provide better service to patients. I wish that all citizens will have medical insurance in the future.
So there is a lot of work that needs to be done, but it cannot be completed overnight. So priority should be given to implementing solutions set forth by the Ministry of Health. — VNS