Low income, high pressure, unattractive remuneration policies blamed for public health workers quitting jobs

July, 22/2022 - 09:00
Low income, high pressure at work and unattractive remuneration policies are listed as the reason nearly 9,400 health workers quit their jobs in State facilities and moved to private health facilities between early 2021 and June 2022.
Health workers take a sample from a woman for a COVID-19 test in Phủ Doãn Street, Hà Nội last September. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết

HÀ NỘI — Low income, high pressure at work and unattractive remuneration policies are listed as the reason nearly 9,400 health workers quit their jobs in State facilities and moved to private health facilities between early 2021 and June 2022.

This was revealed in a report by the Việt Nam Health Union which was recently sent to the Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour.

The report said according to the current regulations on salary and allowance, a doctor after studying for six years and having 18 months of practice to be granted a practising certificate, will receive nearly VNĐ4.9 million (US$209) per month. The amount consists of a salary of nearly VNĐ3.5 million ($149) and an allowance of nearly VNĐ1.4 million ($60). The allowance is equal to 40 per cent of the salary.

The amount of money that the health workers received each month has not deducted a payment of social and health insurance as regulations.

With the salary, it is very difficult to retain health workers working in public health facilities, the report said.

The income of health workers at private health facilities is often triple or quadruple, in some places the income is five or six times more than in public health facilities, the report said.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, health officials and employees have become the frontline force in disease prevention and control. Working intensity was especially hard when the number of new cases increased, the report said.

“The health workers hardly have days off and they have to work with high intensity for a long time, especially, for health workers in localities with large populations such as HCM City and several southern provinces,” the report said.

Health workers often have to work in a dangerous environment, with high risk of contracting the disease, and in some cases it can be life-threatening. It has profoundly affected the psychology and working motivation of health workers, the report said.

The report also revealed another cause of people leaving was the recent cases of violations of the law in the procurement of drugs, supplies and medical equipment which affected to the working environment of health staff.

It also caused a lack of modern equipment to deploy high-technology medical services, lack of medicine, even a lack of common medical tools and protective equipment for health workers.

Therefore, health workers tend to move to private health facilities with better conditions and working environment, the report said.

The report added that the strong development of private hospitals and health clinics with modern and friendly working environment is another reason public health workers are making the switch. Private medical facilities are willing to offer high salaries, while public health facilities do not have a mechanism to keep them.

Recommendations

The union has proposed to raise the level of allowances for public employees working in preventive medicine and grassroots health from 40 per cent to 100 per cent in order to attract more staff.

At the same time, the Party and Government should allow the Ministry of Health to adjust the price of medical services, including the price of medical examinations and treatment services for health insurance participants. It will help increase the revenue of public health facilities so that the public health facilities will have more funds to increase the income for health workers.

Additionally, relevant authorities propose the Government to provide funding to support health workers for their contributions in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Each worker should receive an allowance, equivalent to their monthly salary or double.

It is advised to consider raising the starting salary for newly-graduated doctors to attract young doctors and provide more allowances for senior doctors, the union said.

The Government should have special support policies for health officials and employees working in extremely difficult areas, where natural disasters and epidemics often occur, the union said.

It is necessary to have preferential policies to attract doctors, nurses and technicians working in the fields of tuberculosis, psychiatry and emergency resuscitation. — VNS

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