Viet Nam News
HCM CITY— The Ministry of Health should speed up financial autonomy for hospitals, especially at large national and city- level facilities, to meet patient demand for quality services, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam has said.
At a meeting with HCM City Paediatrics Hospital 1 and People’s Hospital 115 on Thursday (October 12), Đam said that a common regulation on autonomy for all hospitals nationwide was needed, but a separate regulation should be issued for national- and city-level hospitals.
Financial autonomy would allow more hospitals to offer services comparable to those in developed countries and buy better equipment.
“Vietnamese spend billions of dollars for treatment overseas each year. When hospitals are given autonomy rights, they will help solve the problem,” Đam said, adding that hospitals would be able to attract foreign patients for treatment.
The government’s budget should be allocated to only grassroots level health facilities and preventive health systems, he added.
Currently, the Ministry of Health is carrying out a pilot programme on autonomy for regular expenditures and a pilot autonomy programme on investment for Chợ Rẫy Hospital in HCM City, and Bạch Mai, K and E Hospitals in Hà Nội.
Deputy Minister of Health Phạm Lê Tuấn said that opinions were being collected on regulations governing financial autonomy of hospitals throughout the country.
The director of People’s Hospital 115, Phan Văn Báu, said the city’s Department of Health was expected to allow the hospital to independently control its regular expenditures.
Currently, healthcare prices at hospitals cannot cover expenses in seven categories: salaries and allowances for health staff; medical equipment; infrastructure; training and scientific research; medicine and medical materials; electricity, communication, disinfection and environmental hygiene; and maintenance.
Current prices can cover only four of the seven categories, according to Báu.
In addition, since basic wages have been increased, coverage of expenses has been more difficult.
Báu said the Ministry of Health should allow People’s Hospital 115 to operate as an enterprise, meaning that it should receive full autonomy.
If public hospitals operate like an enterprise, they will be able to attract investment from other sources to develop medical fields such as molecular biology and offer international standard treatment.
The hospital has 1,600 beds, but the number of inpatients is often more than 2,000.
Each day, 2,800 to 3,000 outpatients visit the hospital, with 250-350 patients given emergency care per day.
Nguyễn Thanh Hùng, head of the city’s Paediatrics Hospital, said the hospital also needs full autonomy to solve its problems.
Deputy PM Đam said the Ministry of Health should continue to be cautious in offering autonomy, but that it had been too timid in providing autonomy to some hospitals.
If the ministry did not submit the decree on hospital autonomy by the year-end, the government would allow hospitals in the pilot programme to go ahead and carry out autonomy, he warned. — VNS