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City plans to ease hospital overload

Update: April, 19/2012 - 09:51

HCM CITY — HCM City aimed to ease the overload on its hospitals in three years, People's Committee vice chairman Hua Ngoc Thuan has said.

Speaking in a recent televised forum, he said eight hospitals that were expected to open by 2015 would help reduce the load by up to 75 per cent.

They are planned to be built near the city's four major entry points and have around 5,000 beds totally.

Despite human resource training and investment in facilities and equipment since last year, the city, home to more than 8 million people, saw overwhelming pressure on all its central-run hospitals, which continued to function at above 100 per cent capacity, Thuan said.

But it was the general and speciality hospitals that were overburdened, not the grassroots-level medical centres that did not even operate at full capacity, he said.

The Tumour (Cancer) Hospital, for instance, has around 630 beds but admits three times the number of inpatients, leaving three patients, even five in some departments, to share a bed, according to its director, Le Hoang Minh.

At the HCM City Trauma Orthopaedics Hospital, its director, Tran Thanh My, said, each department got at least 2,000 patients a day, and those who needed surgery had to wait for at least two weeks, sometimes up to eight weeks during summer.

The Obstetrics Hospital had to take in more than 1,500 inpatients a day though it had only 1,200 beds, deputy director Hoang Thi Diem Tuyen said.

The director of the Children's Hospital 2, Ha Manh Tuan, told the forum it got 1.4 million patients last year or 4,500 a day. The busiest days saw around 6,000 examined, 10 times the expected number when it was first set up.

The hospitals tried to cope by putting additional beds in hallways and shortening treatment time.

Participants told the forum that to address the problem, it is necessary to build new hospitals. They complained while that a large number of office buildings and shopping malls have been built in the last 10 years, no new hospital has come up.

Representatives of city hospitals blamed red tape and improper policies for the slow execution of new hospital projects.

They suggested using district medical centres to relieve the pressure on the large hospitals as a first step in tackling the problem.

Minh said if they operated at full capacity, the overload would reduce by 5-10 per cent.

Investment in community healthcare should be improved since good preventive medicine would help reduce the pressure on hospitals, the forum panel agreed.

Taking advantage of the private medical system would be another way to cope with the problem, Duong Quang Trung, former director of the city Department of Health, said.

HCM City was focusing on improving facilities and personnel for grassroots-level healthcare, the department's deputy director, Nguyen Tan Binh, said.

The city hopes to double its number of doctors in two years and triple it by 2015. — VNS

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