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Overcrowding hits HCM City hospitals

Update: March, 02/2006 - 00:00

Overcrowding hits HCM City hospitals

(02-03-2006)

HCM CITY — Overcrowding and poor facilities have left the health care sector unable to meet health service demands in HCM City, according to the Health Care Department (HCD).

Many hospitals – especially specialised facilities – face chronic overcrowding as they provide service for local patients as well as those from other provinces, who make up some 35 per cent, officials from the department said.

Nguyen The Dung, HCD director said that people from other provinces preferred city hospitals based on confidence in skilled doctors and modern facilities, causing the overcrowding.

Dung also said that many hospitals in the city have been deteriorating as they were constructed long ago, and also have financial difficulties in updating medical equipment.

Tu Du Obstetrics Hospital, and Paediatrics Hospitals II and I were all built a century ago, and are badly in need of upgrades to meet the growing patient demand, Dung said.

Looking to solve some of the problems, city authorities pumped VND946 billion (US$59.5 million) into repairs and upgrades, but the projects now lag behind schedule.

Dung explained that complicated administrative procedures for bidding and assessing the projects have held things up.

"Also, project managers who are mostly hospital directors lack experience in management and supervision of these kinds of projects."

Solving overcrowding

The HCD said it would open training courses to help hospital directors improve management skills in April of this year.

Furthermore, the City’s Health Department has mapped out a plan to reduce overcrowding in local hospitals for the 2006-10 period.

The department targets raising per bed numbers from 3 to 4 beds per 1,000 patients by 2010 by funding repairs and upgrades for the Cu Chi Hospital, Tumour Treatment Hospital and Psychiatric Hospital.

Cu Chi and the Tumour Treatment Hospital are to be increased by 1,000 beds each and the Psychiatric Hospital by 500 beds.

Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital has also reported it plans to build an HIV treatment center and a cosmetic analysing center this year.

The new Paediatrics Hospital I and Tam Duc Heart Hospital will opensoon to take some of the patients on from the HCM City Heart Hospital.

Aside from improving facilities, Dung said one of the best ways to help the city effectively solve overcrowding at specialised hospitals is to increase the functionality and prestige of general hospitals and medical centres in the provinces.

"To do this, the city health care sector needs to help these medical institutions enhance the qualification of their staffs and modernise their medical equipment."

He also said that the health care sector should develop outpatient treatment services and the day care department, which would contribute to reducing overcrowding in specialised hospitals.

"The sector authority should issue preferential policies to encourage various local economic sectors to work with the Government to intensify investment in the development and modernisation of the local medical network," Dung added. — VNS

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