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Feb 28, 2015 / 13:18

Health Minister promises to improve health sector

Easing the burden on overcrowded hospitals is a priority for the government, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien has said, promising to increase bed numbers at major health centres, open more satellite facilities and boost the number of family doctors.

Tien, speaking on Vietnamese Doctors' Day today (February 27), said existing infrastructure was unable to cope with demand, with 22.5 beds per 10,000 people when an adequate number should be at least 40.

She said the ministry will increase the number of beds in centre hospitals, invest more into satellite hospitals and pilot family physicians programme in 10 provinces.


Nurses caring for a patient at Trung Vuong Hospital in HCM City


Tien said the ministry will continue focusing on reducing the hospital overload, preventing contagious diseases, popularising health insurance and making changes to the sector's financing mechanisms, and improving service quality.

"Fifteen hospitals are committed to end bed-sharing problems. The number of examination tables has been increased so patients do not have to wait for long periods. We are also increasing hospital transparency and efficiency," she said.

The minister promised to punish staff who violate regulations, cheat patients with fake services and products, or put patient health at risk.

"We may have some bad staff, but there are still thousands of doctors and staff who work long hours to care for their patients and work tirelessly in remote or mountainous areas, overcoming many challenges to provide care," she said.

Tien said she was a regular user of social media so she could understand patient concerns and gather ideas about how to improve health care in Vietnam.