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Family doctor programme goes on trial

Update: July, 16/2014 - 08:53

A doctor gives treatment to a patient at her house in northern Bac Giang Province. The model of family doctors began yesterday in eight cities and provinces nationwide. — Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — The Western concept of family doctors yesterday went on trial in eight provinces and cities yesterday - Ha Noi, HCM City, Hai Phong, Can Tho, Thai Nguyen, Thua Thien-Hue, Khanh Hoa and Tien Giang

It is hoped that eventually, family doctors will be able to reduce patient overcrowding in hospitals.

The doctors involved in the pilot scheme are working in clinics. They can provide health checks for any patient with a health-insurance card.

The introduction of family doctors - a concept distinguished by a close relationship with patients and detailed filing of treatment and history - was regulated in Circular 16/2014/TT-BYT issued in May this year by the Ministry of Health.

The circular states that family doctor clinics must keep records so that they can properly manage each individual's health. In many traditional clinics, few records, if any, are kept and the doctors frequently change.

This is considered poor medical practice because it can lead to wrong medicines being prescribed. Sometimes, even the underlying condition of a patient can be mistaken because their is no relationship between doctor and patient.

Family-doctor clinics under the new Vietnamese system can be independent private organisations founded by the family doctor, or can be belong to a private clinic, a general hospital or a commune medical station.

If a family-doctor clinic belongs to a State medical station, its prices must be approved by competent state bodies. If the clinic is a private one, it can decide its prices based on present regulations, but must make them public.

Tran Quy Tuong, deputy director of the health ministry's Medical Services Administration, said that, in Viet Nam, family doctors would offer long-term healthcare, give guidance on disease prevention, and control of chronic diseases.

Dao Trung Dung, a doctor at the Viet Nam-Germany Hospital, said that the family-doctor model overseas had proven its merit as a first contact point for sick people.

"Family doctors supervise a patients' condition from the time a patient catches a disease until they recover," he said. — VNS

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