Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Many health workers are reportedly quitting their jobs at public hospitals and seeking opportunities in private clinics, citing low salaries, a pressure-filled environment and a shortage of favourable policies as reasons to quit.
Many of those leaving are well-qualified and experienced doctors, and some fear that we are experiencing a brain drain of health workers from public to private hospitals.
In mid May, the heads of the medical examination, orthopedic surgery and general surgery departments at Cái Nước General Hospital in southernmost Cà Mau Province submitted their resignations.
At Cà Mau General Hospital, more than ten highly-qualified doctors have quit their jobs to move to private health clinics since last year.
In the past three years, the Central Highland of Đắk Lắk and Đắk Nông provinces has seen as many as 48 doctors quit their jobs for opportunities at private hospitals.
In the Mekong Delta province of Cần Thơ, a total of 14 doctors have reportedly quit their jobs. After discussing the issue with hospital leaders, however, five withdrew their decisions.
Huỳnh Văn Nhanh, deputy director of Cần Thơ Province’s Health Department, said that some employees quit for the simple reason of pay: private hospitals offered them significantly higher salaries than their public counterparts.
Nguyễn Hoàng Vũ, chief secretary of Cà Mau Province’s Health Department, agreed, saying public hospital doctors faced low wages and policies that led to high levels of workplace pressure.
Nguyễn Trung Cấp, doctor at the Emergency Department at the Central Tropical Diseases Hospital, said that doctors quit their jobs in order to be well-paid with transparency.
Doctors at public hospitals may attempt to augment their incomes by working extra hours, performing more surgeries or even seeking commission/bribes from patients’ families. This income is often unofficial, however, and many doctors are seeking something more solid.
Another advantage of private hospitals, according to Cấp, is that their salaries and hours allow doctors to seek continued education.
Cấp cited that top medical journal subscriptions can cost around US$200-250, and courses abroad cost much more. These become unfeasible for public doctors whose average wages are between VNĐ5-7 million ($225-325).
Nguyễn Huy Quang, head of the Ministry of Health’s Legal Services Department, called the wave from public to private hospitals understandable and predictable.
Many had to work at downgraded medical facilities with crowded patients and face high risk of medical error.
Quang said it was time that public hospitals implemented policies that could retain talented people and promoted training courses for a higher quality workforce. -- VNS