Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The development of grass-roots medical work and provision of health services to all people are a focal assignment of the health sector in 2017, stated Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. 

The PM made the statement when attending the Health Ministry’s conference to set out tasks for 2017 in Hanoi on January 12.

He lauded the sector’s outcomes last year, including preventive healthcare that let no outbreak of diseases take place.

The sector has worked to ease overcrowded conditions at major hospitals as well as improve medical facilities and human resources capacity, he added.

He highlighted 61 percent of population was covered with health insurance in Vietnam last year, saying it surpassed the goal set for 2020.

He pointed to progress made in health financing mechanism and food safety, the completion of the mechanism for drug auctions, as well as the punishment facing 6,000 medical staff with wrongdoing.

Phuc also talked about the sector’s shortcomings, including cramped hospitals as a pressing issue and medical accidents due to negligence and poor competence of medical workers.

According to the Prime Minister, hospital management remains weak, with monopoly spotted in in many associated services, such as the provision of taxis, food and beverage. Meanwhile, red tape has caused trouble for patients, and the building of many centrally run hospitals has fallen behind schedule.

He pointed to vested interest and lack of transparency in purchasing medical equipment and managing the medicine market, citing an example of a clinic in Ca Mau that reported a loss of more than 100 billion VND (4.4 million USD).

He recommended that measures to reduce medicine prices is necessary.

As a task for 2017, Phuc urged the sector to simplify its administrative procedures and hospitals to make public their performances and service quality.

The sector has to focus on the implementation of its project to improve quality of medical tests and accelerate the construction of centrally run hospitals, he stressed.

He said the Health Ministry ought to facilitate the establishment of non-public medical facilities and pilot operating public-private units.

The expansion of health insurance coverage in line with improved service quality is also a must, he added.-VNA