Suc khoe va Doi Song (Health & Life) newspaper spoke to the health ministry's representatives and hospital officials about the efforts to ease patient overload in public hospitals.
Nguyen Thi Xuyen, deputy minister of health
In recent years, the Party and the government have become very interested in building a medical treatment network, particularly in the district-level hospitals. More than 900 district-level hospitals have already received government investment to expand and upgrade their facilities.
The health ministry has plans to implement projects in developing satellite hospitals and groups of family physicians to reduce the load on hospitals. I think this year there are signs of improvement, and there will be no need for patients to share beds in hospitals, according to the government's targets that were approved by the Prime Minister. Towards the 2020 goal, the overload problem will be solved and the ministry will coordinate well with relevant sectors and local people to reach the goal.
Several hospitals have committed to take measures to ease the patient overload. When patients receive good treatment, the hospitals' reputation will increase.
Prof Dr Le Thanh Hai, director of the National Hospital of Paediatrics
To implement the plan for reducing the patient overload in hospitals, the hospital has carried out several solutions since mid-2014, such as choosing patients in the first treatment area, doubling the number of reception rooms from 30 or 35 to 55 to 60. The hospital has also mobilised more experienced doctors to directly examine patients, reducing the time for administrative procedures and waiting time for tests. The patients will receive better treatment and doctors' services. Each doctor currently receives 60 child patients per day, compared to 100 earlier.
After a thorough examination, the severe cases are hospitalised, and others are transferred to the outpatient treatment centre or sent back to district-level hospitals.
The second solution is to increase access to clinical facilities to improve the identification of illness, helping patients get optimal treatment and then return home as soon as possible.
The next is to strengthen consultation and exchange with specialised hospitals to transfer patients to suitable hospitals for treatment.
In particular, the hospital also boosts communications by providing information on preventing diseases on its website. With these solutions, the sharing of beds by patients has stopped for more than four months now.
Prof Dr Nguyen Tien Quyet, director of Viet Duc Hospital
Before the satellite hospitals were introduced, the patient overload had led to the sharing of a bed by two to three patients in the hospital.
During 2003-04, the hospital performed 16,000 surgical operations and two or three patients had shared a bed in some wards.
Thanks to the satellite hospitals, the number of patients sent from lower-level medical centres toViet Duc Hospital has reduced dramatically. Patients receive treatment at both the satellite and main hospitals.
Doctors in the hospital have helped to improve professional skills in satellite hospitals in provinces in the north, such as Lao Cai, Lang Son, Ninh Binh and Thai Binh.
The increasing exchange of experiences with the lower–level hospitals is one way we can against act against patient overload in the hospital.
Prof Dr Nguyen Van Kinh, director of the Central Tropical Diseases Hospital
The hospital has committed to prevent the sharing of beds by patients after 24 hours of admittance to the hospital, increase the number of beds in wards and rooms and report the patient situation every day.
The hospital has also strengthened training in lower-level hospitals and developed a satellite-hospital system. One of the most difficult hurdles to implementing the hospital's commitments is the number of limited beds when demand is high. Thus, another branch of the hospital was put into operation from September last year. The number of beds increased from 245 to 300, and will even go up to 500 beds in the next few years.
To avoid patient overload, the hospital has transferred techniques to hospitals in the northern border provinces, with which they can detect and prevent diseases.
But in my opinion, the hospital still needs the co-ordination of social insurance agencies to ensure the supply of medicines and services payment under regulations to ensure that patients benefit from them. — VNS