Investment lifts quality at Vietnam’s public hospitals hinh anh 1Domestic hospitals are improving service quality to better serve patients. — VNA Photo

Hanoi (VNA) - By utilising their budgets and borrowing funds, many hospitals improved their quality and raised confidence in domestic hospitals.

Deputy Director of Viet Duc Hospital, Nguyen Thi Bich Huong said the hospital borrowed from banks to operate a new department using advanced treatment techniques.

"We decided to borrow money as the need for hospital upgrades and expansion was urgent while the budget was limited," said Huong.

The new department had more than 300 beds, 25 modern operating rooms and covered a total of 2,400sqm.

The department helped to ease overcrowding which was a burden to the once-900-bed hospital with thousands of patients every day, Huong said.

The hospital invested a total of 394 billion VND (18 million USD) with 61 percent being lent by VDB at 9.6 percent annual interest rate.

A second branch of the National Endocrinology Hospital has been recently operated with 700 beds, 300 rooms and 15 specialised departments in use.

With its second branch in use, the hospital successfully met the target of one person per bed.

The hospital was once overcrowded with up to 1,700 patients every day and three patients to a bed.

The hospital invested a total of 497 billion VND (22 million USD) with 30 percent coming from the hospital's budget and the rest lent by Vietnam Development Bank (VDB), according to director of the hospital, Tran Ngoc Luong.

In Hanoi, there are 13 out of 41 public hospital and six health centres taking part in equitisation programmes and 48 cooperation schemes allowing investors to invest in health equipment.

Preferential policies

Leaders of hospitals are still concerned about the annual interest rate and their capability to repay loans.

"The interest rate offered by the ADB is still high with some packages reaching up to 12 percent annually and the repayment period being only 12 years," said Director of Hue Central General Hospital Bui Duc Phu.

"The annual interest rate needs to be adjusted and preferential corporate income tax should be offered to facilitate public health centres in borrowing money to invest in infrastructure and to improve service quality," added Phu.

The National Endocrinology Hospital also faced difficulties in repaying the borrowed money as the interest rate was high, said hospital director, Luong.

A health ministry representative said when the health service increased prices soon, hospitals would have more money to cover debts.

To reach the target of having an additional 9,000 beds by 2020, hospitals needed to attract more private investors to upgrade infrastructure and equipment, said Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.

In addition, the ministry signed a cooperation agreement in infrastructure and health equipment development between the ministry and VDB and Viettinbank.

The Ministry has recently received a preferential credit package of 30,000 billion VND (1.3 billion USD) from Viettinbank.-VNA