|Patients being treated at the National Geriatric Hospital. Out of 894 calls to the hotline service of the Health Ministry over the past two months, 140 involved bribery and irresponsible or high-handed behaviour by doctors.—VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HA NOI (VNS)— More than 140 out of 894 calls to the hotline service of the Ministry of Health were related to reporting bribery instances and irresponsible or high-handed behaviour by doctors.
The figure was released at a conference held by the ministry on Monday to provide an update on the operations of the hotline service, which has been in operation for about two months.
Several patients complained that they had been asked to pay more money to avail faster health services. Some patients were asked for bribes by nurses while receiving injections or getting their wound dressing changed, said Nguyen Xuan Truong, chief of the ministry's secretariat.
In one instance, a couple who took their baby to the Van Dinh General Hospital in Ha Noi's Ung Hoa District for a health check-up called the hotline to report a wrong diagnosis by the hospital, and for waiting so long that the baby's condition became worse before the medical staff recommended shifting the baby to a specialised hospital.
After receiving the information, the ministry shifted the baby to the Ha Noi Heart Hospital for an emergency heart operation.
Truong said that in the case of some emergency phone calls, workers manning the hotline called the health department or hospitals immediately to provide an immediate resolution.
The ministry has issued nearly 130 documents asking hospitals and medical stations to consider the problems being reported on the hotline, undertake the requisite measures and inform the ministry about those measures.
As many as 77 per cent of the residents are calm when reporting a complaint, while about 3 per cent called the hotline when they were angry about the irresponsible behaviour of doctors and nurses, added Truong.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said the ministry had established the hotline as one of the measures to improve the services of medical workers.
Tien added that strict punishment for violations would help increase the quality of services provided by medical workers.
"The ministry will have more measures to re-set up a good imagine of doctors," noted Tien.
If a doctor in the general ward is found to be incapable of handling patients calmly, he/she will be moved to another ward, where there will be fewer interactions with people. These wards could include the nutrition ward or the contamination ward, she added.
Director of the Medical Services Department Luong Ngoc Khue suggested increasing the efforts to raise the awareness among hospital administrators and medical staff about the importance of the hotline service.
Hospitals and medical stations should set up a task force that is properly equipped to receive, manage and resolve the residents' issues through the hotline, and introduce more devices to receive such complaints, such as cameras, letter boxes and even the Internet, he noted.
The Ministry of Health, in co-ordination with the Viettel Group, has established 1,400 hotlines in hospitals and medical stations across the country. The Ministry of Health has eight hotline numbers. — VNS