Ministry plans major overhaul of health law hinh anh 1A doctor gives check-up to an elderly (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - The Ministry of Health is set to amend the Law on Health Examination and Treatment, including provisions on issue of certificates for medical practice.

The law came into effect in 2011 and now needs to be amended because certain provisions have failed to meet requirements, Dr Nguyen Huy Quang, head of the ministry’s legal affairs department, said.

Speaking at a conference held to review implementation of the law in Ho Chi Minh City on July 29, he said it does not mention patients’ right to complain about errors, quality of healthcare services or staff attitudes.

The law does not stipulate fines or penalties for patients who refuse to pay for healthcare, he added.

A representative of the city's Department of Health said the law does not stipulate a time limit for medical practice certificates while most countries have limits of one, two or five years.

Limits would help reduce the difficulty in monitoring medical practitioners, he added.

Nguyen Trong Khoa, deputy head of the ministry’s department of medical examination and treatment, said that regulations on the issue of medical practice certificates do not cover all categories of people working in the health sector, such as staff in preventive health, biology graduates working in testing and others.

As of the end of last year 363,407 doctors had been licensed to practice.

A ministry report said 51 percent of health departments around the country lack the staff required to issue the licences.

The management of medical practice at ward- and commune-level has many limitations, it said.

Dr Nguyen Ngo Quang, deputy head of the ministry’s Agency of Science, Technology and Training, said training methods to improve the quality of doctors would be changed.

The training period  and hospital stint would be increased to at least 10 years before a licence to practise is issued, he said.

Le Quang Hung, director of the Binh Din provincial Department of Health, said the 18 months of practice stipulated in the law is too long and could be reduced to 12 months or less.

The country has 49,625 health facilities and a ratio of 8.2 doctors per 10,000 population while the number of beds is 26.5.

Ninety percent of commune-based health stations have doctors. 

According to the report, the process of health examination has been reduced from 12-14 to 4-8 steps, leading to a decrease of 48.5 minutes on average for examination.

The private sector has built 250 hospitals and 35,000 clinics around the country.

Nearly 300,000 foreigners visit health facilities for treatment every year. - VNS/VNA