Patients lining up since early morning for medical check-ups at Saint Paul Hospital
Tien concluded that Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were two major hot spots for hospital overcrowding, but the problem was mainly confined to major hospitals rather than medical stations at communal or district levels.
When Chien called at a medical station in Cau Dien Township, Tu Liem District, the station was deserted as few people had chosen the clinic for medical check-ups or treatment.
Despite the facility having modern equipment and sufficient medical staff, it had failed to attract people from the surrounding areas.
Doctor Dang Thi Lan, head of the station, said the station was capable of providing initial treatment for patients but most locals opted to go directly to central health facilities. Last year, the station served only 4,000 patients.
In the meanwhile, at 10am on the same day, Hanoi Saint Paul Hospital, a leading general hospital in the capital city, was suffering from serious overcrowding, from the parking lot to waiting rooms and consultation rooms.
“I’ve had to line up here since 5 am but up until now, I’m still waiting my turn,” a patient from Thanh Xuan District shared.
Nguyen Pham Y Nhi, director of the hospital, said the facility receives between 1,700 and 2,000 patients per day while it has only 550 sickbeds, leading to major overcrowding.
According to Nhi, the same situation has been recorded at other major hospitals including Hospital K, Bach Mai, and Central Paediatrics Hospital.
Officials from municipal hospitals said that serious overcrowding often only occurs at the country’s leading medical facilities. Authorities in Hanoi have proposed relocating 24 central health facilities out of the inner city in the next decade.
However, several medical officials were worried that if a new hospital campus isn’t of the same standard as the original facility then overcrowding would continue to plague major hospitals.
“Overcrowding mainly happens at the best hospitals. In order to ease the situation, more high standard hospitals should be built to meet the rising demand,” said Truong Quoc Cuong, Director of the Ministry of Health’s Drug Admistration of Vietnam.
Tien noted that the ministry will coordinate with the municipal government to relocate some hospitals out of the inner city with priority given to infectious diseases hospitals in the time to come.
“Central health facilities that are suffering from overloading must speed up the construction of their second establishment. However, due attention must be paid to ensuring service quality,” the minister emphasised.