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Public, private co-operation to ease overcrowding in hospitals

Update: March, 14/2014 - 08:24
People wait for health check at a hospital in District 3, HCM City. Private hopitals are expected to help reduce overloading at public facilities. — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Vy

HCM CITY (VNS)— A public private partnership (PPP) model in the health sector is essential to optimise bed capacity in private hospitals, and ease overloading in public hospitals, medical officials have said.

Many private hospitals were equipped with modern technology and devices as well as qualified doctors and high standard services, yet most of them failed to operate at full capacity, Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, minister of health said at a conference held on Monday in HCM City.

Nearly 57 per cent of private hospitals are operating at a bed capacity of 60 per cent, according to the minister. Only 21 per cent of private hospitals have bed capacity of 60-85 per centghe.

On the contrary, many public hospitals are constantly operating at full capacity, with four to five patients lying on one bed. The bed capacity in Cho Ray Hospital in HCM City, for instance, reached 135 per cent last year. At the HCM City Oncology Hospital there were 560 inpatients per 160 beds.

Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the ministry's Department of Medical Examination and Treatment, said that the number of private hospitals has risen four times in ten years, from 40 in 2004 to 170 hospitals.

Private hospitals accounted for 11 per cent of the 1,200 hospitals nationwide.

The number of beds in private hospitals made up only 4.2 per cent of the total hospital beds while the number of patients that private hospitals received every year accounted for 6-7 per cent of total patients at hospitals nationwide.

A lack of specific policies and legal mechanisms on PPP has hindered the cooperation between public and private hospitals. Tien said that the Ministry of Health was collecting opinions from hospitals and experts to build a model of public private partnership with the aim of putting patients first.

Alongside this, the ministry has been working hard on implementing other measures to reduce overloading in hospitals, including satellite hospitals, family doctors, and health insurance coverage. —VNS

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