Private sector drains Hanoi workers from public healthcare

By Chi Le, Vo Hai   December 8, 2022 | 04:20 pm PT
Private sector drains Hanoi workers from public healthcare
Healthcare workers vaccinate people against Covid-19 in Hanoi in 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Nearly 600 Hanoi healthcare workers quit for better jobs in the private sector over the first 10 months of 2022, and the capital’s health department fears this is just the beginning.

At a meeting with the Hanoi People’s Council Wednesday, municipal health department director Tran Thi Nhi Ha said that among the 586 state healthcare workers who quit, 20 had entirely abandoned their healthcare careers for jobs in other sectors such as online sales. The others had switched to jobs in private healthcare instead, she added, noting that the trend had started several years ago.

Ha pointed out that the rate of public healthcare workers migrating to the private sector had been accelerating over the last two years.

In 2019, 562 people decided to quit. The figure rose to 574 in 2020 and 614 in 2021.

"We anticipate the number of people quitting and switching jobs will continue to increase in 2023," Ha said.

The main cause of the migration is low income, accounting for 48% of all cases, according to the department.

Other reasons include family issues, health, work environment and working conditions.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also severely impacted the healthcare workforce, forcing workers to perform more stressful duties and tasks without days off.

"This kind of work is too much of a sacrifice," Ha said. "After spending long periods under stress for low pay, many quit."

She continued by saying that state hospital revenues and budgets had also been dropping, leading to decreases in worker salaries.

Meanwhile, the private healthcare sector has been booming since the pandemic.

Ha said private medial establishments have better drugs, equipment, working environments and salaries.

Private doctors only need to worry about treating patients, not bidding processes, so they understandably prefer the private sector, Ha said.

To help retain the workforce, the Hanoi government has approved extra benefits for healthcare workers.

To compensate for labor shortages, the municipal health department has allowed public hospitals to fund labor contracts from its own budget in order to fill more positions. From January to June, hospitals have hired over 1,700 new replacements, including 480 doctors, she added.

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