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More doctors leaving public hospitals to go private

Update: March, 13/2019 - 09:34

More talented and experienced doctors are leaving public hospitals to work in private facilities, raising concerns of a shortage of key doctors in the public sector.– Photo

ĐỒNG NAI – More talented and experienced doctors are leaving public hospitals to work in private facilities, raising concerns of a shortage of key doctors in the public sector.

Low salaries and poor working conditions were among reasons given by doctors leaving public hospitals.

Figures from southern Đồng Nai Province’s Department of Health show that the number of doctors leaving public hospitals for private facilities has increases over the past few years.

In 2016, as many as 65 doctors quit their jobs in favour of the private sector. The number increased to 98 in 2017 and 102 in 2018.

Since early this year, 11 doctors from public hospitals resigned to move to private centres.

Dr Lê Thị Phương Trâm, deputy head of Đồng Nai General Hospital told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper that 32 doctors decided to leave the hospital. Of that, three were deputy department heads and eight had post-graduate degrees.

Most were young doctors with 2 to 5 years of working experience, she said.

The health sector in HCM City is facing the same exodus. As many as 23 health workers, including six doctors and six nurses, have gone on to pursue employment at private hospitals.

PhD Tăng Chí Thượng, deputy director of HCM City’s Department of Health said he was afraid the trend would continue.

The brain drain was alarming, affecting leading hospitals in the city, he said.

It was necessary to have an intervention otherwise the situation would lead to a domino effect, he said.

Beyond money

Dr Lê Thị Phương Trâm said Đồng Nai General Hospital took a survey on the salary doctors wished to receive each month.

Most said they wanted between VNĐ20-25 million (US$864-1,080) per month.

To meet the expectation, the hospital was planning to diversify medical examination and treatment to increase the income of the doctors, she said.

But many doctors said there’s more to it than money.

Director of Thống Nhất General Hospital in southern Đồng Nai Province Phạm Văn Dũng said apart from low incomes, there were other reasons for doctors seeking private employment.

Nguyễn Hoài Nam of HCM City’s Medical University said many left their jobs as they no longer felt happy and comfortable with the working environment.

The income was not the key factor for them leaving, he said.

Tăng Chí Thượng said well-paid doctors still resigned as they had little chance of studying abroad or doing research to improve their professional skills.

Bùi Thành Chi, former deputy head of Hà Nội-based Bạch Mai Hospital said qualified doctors working at public hospitals like Viêt Nam-Germany or Bạch Mai rarely wanted to switch jobs to get more money.

A professional working atmosphere with research and advancement opportunities would be the key factor helping doctors devote themselves to their work, he said.

Health experts have suggested that the health sector needed to change a number of policies and mechanisms to improve the income and professional skills of health staff. This would help retain talented and qualified doctors at public hospitals. – VNS

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