Bad attitudes leave Vietnamese medical staff in hot water

By Bui Hong Nhung   July 21, 2016 | 02:07 am PT
The Ministry of Health penalized more than 15,000 staff in the first half of 2016 after complaints from patients and their families.

Data from the ministry shows that during the first six months of 2016, some 4,000 phone calls were made to its hotline, of which 40 percent were complaints about health equipment and facilities, 28 percent about the examination process and 15 percent related to the attitudes of doctors and nurses.

The costs of related services like car parks, canteens and funeral homes are said to have been fairly high as there are no specific rules governing them.

In response, the ministry has dismissed five people, demoted seven top officials, transferred 50 to other positions and issued warnings to 15,800 staff.

“We’ll eliminate any ‘scabby sheep that can spoil the whole flock’,” Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said at meeting on July 19.

The minister added that hospitals should invite individuals and companies to provide related services and involve the public in the decision-making process, without specifying how the process would work.

“If suppliers aren't approved by the public and fees start to climb, hospital managers will be held accountable.”

“The Ministry of Health has a hotline at 1900-9095, so anyone can phone in to make a complaint, even about small problems like parking fees,” Tien added.

Vietnam is in the process of improving customer care, and positive results have been seen over the last year. The results of a survey revealed that 70.1 percent of patients received clearer instructions about examination procedures while 69.1 percent said that they were treated with more respect.

Pham Van Tac, head of the Bureau of Organization and Personnel under the ministry, said that hospitals in the south have transformed more than those in the north.

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