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VietNamNews

Family-doctor model brings mixed results

Update: August, 05/2015 - 09:00
A family doctor examines for a resident in HCM City. The family doctor model has been implemented for two years around the country with uneven results, particularly at grassroots medical stations, healthcare. — Photo tuoitre.vn

HCM CITY (VNS) — The family doctor model has been implemented for two years around the country with uneven results, particularly at grassroots medical stations, healthcare officials have said.

Under the programme, a total of 240 family doctor clinics have been opened at public general hospitals, private clinics and community medical stations, according to Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the health ministry's Medical Examination and Treatment Management Department.

Most of the family doctor clinics are located at hospitals, general clinics and medical stations, Khue said at a conference held in HCM City yesterday.

Although patient care has improved via the family doctor clinics, only four private clinics have taken part in the programme due to strict regulations on granting family-doctor licences to private clinics.

Six cities and provinces participate in the programme, including Ha Noi, HCM City, Thua Thien-Hue, Can Tho, Khanh Hoa and Tien Giang.

HCM City has 149 family doctor clinics, the highest number in the country, followed by Ha Noi, with 67.

The family doctor clinics have provided healthcare services for more than 353,000 patients and emergency services for 2,800 patients. Nearly 2,400 patients have received home visits from family doctors.

Many referrals

Family doctor clinics have also referred more than 11,500 patients to central hospitals for specialist treatment.

However, the success of the family doctor model has varied, particularly at community medical stations.

Nguyen Tan Binh, director of HCM City's Department of Health, said that family doctor clinics at community medical stations had failed to attract patients due to the poor quality of health services at grassroots-level medical stations.

Community medical stations also lack medical equipment and have a limited supply of medicine.

Only one private clinic in HCM City has taken part in the pilot programme, Binh said.

A severe shortage of professionals trained to be family doctor specialists has hindered the development of the model, especially at community medical stations, he said.

Although the family doctor model exists in many countries, it is still on a trial basis in Viet Nam, said Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.

"The family-doctor model will enhance the quality of primary healthcare services," Tien said. "There will no longer be overcrowding at central-level hospitals, and people will have better health care."

The Health Ministry plans to scale up the family-doctor model across the country and promote the training of family-doctor physicians. — VNS

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