Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam speaks at the conference (Photo: VietnamPlus)


Hanoi (VNA) -
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam affirmed that increasing autonomy for hospitals is an important policy, but the work should not mislead public hospitals to operate for profit.

“Autonomy is not meant to let hospitals seek every mean to make profits. We should work to unblock bottlenecks for hospitals’ staff to uphold their responsibility and creativity to build governance models that fully tap the strength of infrastructural facilities and human resources as well,” he said.

The Deputy PM made these remarks while addressing a recent teleconference with 63 provinces and cities in Hanoi, on launching health care tasks in 2019.

“What should we do to prevent the loss of billions of USD?”

Addressing the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam stated that increasing autonomy for hospitals is a very important policy aiming to improve the quality of treatment at health clinics at all levels. However, the work should not mean to allow public hospitals to run after profits.

“What should we do to stop Vietnamese people from spending billions of USD going abroad to seek medical treatment? Autonomy is not meant we seek every mean to increase incomes. If it is that way of thinking, public hospitals are no longer orientated to serve the entire people,” he said.

Reviewing health care work in 2018, the Deputy PM said the care for people’s health obtained comprehensive achievements, notably the increase of health insurance coverage.

Five years ago, health insurance covered only 60 percent of the population and then the National Assembly set forth the goal of expanding the coverage to 80 percent of the population by 2020. By now, the coverage reached 88 percent and the work became a political task of Party Committees and local governments at all levels.

2018: People make 230 million hospital visits

Addressing the conference, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said in 2018, people made nearly 230 million visits to hospitals, including 178 million visits in which outpatients used health insurance. On average, a person makes 2.4 visits to hospitals. At present, up to 82.38 million people participated in health insurance, reaching 87.7 percent of the country’s population.

Through hotline, the healthcare sector handles staff’s violations

The Minister of Health reported that the ministry’s hotline 1900-9095 received over 65,700 calls, including more than 11,300 ones reporting violations in hospitals (17 percent). After investigating the information provided, the health sector relocated 18 health workers, reprimanded 171 others, disciplined 7 staffers, and fired four.

Minister Tien also reported that 90 percent of communal health centres have doctors and 95 percent of communal health centres have a midwife or an obstetrician-pediatrician. However, service quality at grassroots level health clinics has yet met requirements. Many communal health centres have failed to well communicate healthcare education and provide primary healthcare. They have not managed non-contagious diseases and personal care yet.

“There are certain limitations in facilities, equipment and staff’s capacity, while financial mechanism and health insurance payment remain unworkable in communal health centres. That’s why local people are not convinced to go there for medical check-ups and treatment,” Tien said.

The head of the health sector admitted that improved quality of medical check-up and treatment services has yet met increasing and diverse demand of people and there is the gap between central hospitals and grassroots level ones. As such, the Ministry of Health will push up implementation of adopted solutions to step by step meet demand for treatment of the people.

Regarding the health sector’s tasks in 2019 and the following years, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said the tasks have been clearly defined in two resolutions of the Party Central Committee.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam handed over the Government’s emulation flag and “National-level role model” title to collectives and individuals of the Ministry of Health (Photo: VietnamPlus)

He stressed that in the coming time, the health sector and the Vietnam Social Security need firstly to ensure health insurance coverage goal set for 2019 is accomplished and even exceeded. They need to manage data on 16 million health insurance contracts held by 30 non-State insurance companies.

In addition to that, the health sector needs to work with the social security sector on a mechanism for health insurance payment in conformity with the spirit “preventive measures are the key” and “primary healthcare is the foundation”.

“Regarding the grassroots level healthcare system, many health centres have beautiful headquarters and facilities, however, the medicine stock is the most important thing here. The quality of medicines they supply must be equal to that of those provided by district and provincial hospitals so these centres can draw people to come for treatment. Communal health centres have become a helping hand of district hospitals, however, the large gap in financial mechanism applied for communal health centres and district hospital is improper, ”the Deputy Prime Minister said.-VNA