Lure of lucre: Public hospitals face brain drain

Created 14 April 2018
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VietNamNet Bridge – Public hospitals are facing a “brain drain” with many doctors and pharmacists moving to private health facilities attracted by their high salaries.

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Public hospitals, “brain drain”, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

A patient at a hospital in Dong Nai Province. Many doctors at public hospitals in the province have quit due to low salaries. — VNA/VNS Photo Le Xuan

They include many working as department heads and deputy heads at province-level hospitals.

Since last year 131 doctors and pharmacists at public hospitals in Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc provinces alone put in their papers.

The Dong Nai Health Department said 108 doctors have quite public health units.

Meanwhile, the Binh Phuoc Department of Health said 23 doctors have quit, all because they expected better salaries.

Besides, they were unhappy with the facilities at their hospitals, they said.

A doctor who had been working at the Binh Phuoc General Hospital since 1997 before quitting recently told Tuoi Tre that he had moved because the salary was too low.

He said his salary had been VND7 million (US$307) a month including allowances.

The province had been promising to help him and others buy land for building a house since he had begun to work at the hospital, but it had yet to happen, he said.

Now, at a private hospital, his income has doubled, he added.

According to the department, it has been facing great difficulty in hiring doctors and other health workers, especially well-qualified ones, since 2016. Against a need of 146, it has managed to find only 21.

In Dong Nai, 22 doctors and pharmacists have quit just this year.

Last year Thong Nhat General Hospital had lost the largest number of doctors (23) followed by the Dong Nai General Hospital (18).

Dr Pham Van Dung, director of Thong Nhat, said the low salaries are blamed for the exodus, with only a few quitting for other reasons.

The hospital has recruited doctors but has been unable to make good the shortage, he said.

It is trying to ensure a better working environment and higher salaries to retain its doctors, he reveals.

Dr Ngo Duc Tuan, director of the Dong Nai General Hospital, said many of the doctors who quit were young and not financially well-off and so moved to private hospitals for higher salaries.

Dr Phan Huy Anh Vu, deputy head of the province health department, said a doctor gets around VND10 million ($439) at a public hospital compared to VND20–50 million ($877-$2,192) at private hospitals.

There is a likelihood of more and more doctors quitting public hospitals for private ones because there is a boom in private health facilities in the province, he said.

Dr Huynh Minh Hoan, the department head, told Lao Dong Dong Nai (Dong Nai Labour) newspaper that many of the doctors quitting their jobs are senior people who had been sent for professional training and so the exodus is affecting the quality of healthcare as well as disease prevention.

According to senior health officials in the two provinces, there should be comprehensive policies to attract and keep doctors at public hospitals.

To ensure a steady supply of doctors in Dong Nai, a medical university should be built, Vu said.

The province plans to merge the Dong Nai Medical College with the Dong Nai University, he said, adding that 50 doctors are needed each year to replace retiring ones.


Source: Source: VNS - Bridge

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