ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Local investors want healthcare to be fully privatised
The Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI) has proposed that the Prime Minister privatise State-owned hospitals to reform the healthcare system and improve the quality of healthcare services.
According to VAFI, the Government needs to implement changes in three stages to improve the quality of the country’s public healthcare services.
The first stage is to transform all the State-owned hospitals from a public to business organisation, and operate in accordance with the Law of Enterprises, VAFI said in its proposal.
“The State-owned hospitals have to publicise their financial reports, business operations and must be audited annually like listed companies, and each must be run by a management board and a supervisory board,” the VAFI said.
To help them operate safely and efficiently, and avoid bankruptcy and dissolution, the Government must set a limit on the total loans provided to these hospitals, which will permit their borrowings to not exceed 50 per cent of their ownership equity, VAFI said.
The second stage is to equitise the largest hospitals, such as Bạch Mai, Việt Đức, Chợ Rẫy hospitals, the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and those that volunteer to be equitised, VAFI said.
“These hospitals should be listed on the stock market, so that their business operations are transparent and public; thus, they will be able to raise capital from the securities market.”
In the third stage, these hospitals should acquire the smaller ones that are located in the surrounding provinces and districts, and become parent hospitals, VAFI added.
“The plan is to turn the current hospitals into corporations in which the Government holds more than 65 per cent of their charter capital and set up their branches at the district level.”
“People who reside in the urban and countryside areas can visit the branches of these hospitals in their local areas, instead of struggling to go to the big cities for healthcare services,” VAFI said.
According to the association, the Government has had a lot of policies to improve the quality of the healthcare service sector, such as disbursing a huge amount of State budget to the public hospitals to improve their operations, raising more capital from the private sector and the society, and building satellite hospitals to reduce the large number of patients visiting central hospitals.
These policies have improved the quality of public hospitals by equipping them with advanced machines, and enhancing the profession of doctors and nurses working in these hospitals.
However, both patients and hospitals have been facing difficulties in the recent years, which have not been resolved or improved, the VAFI said.
The hospitals have spent a lot to purchase machines and equipment, but the equality of the purchased products are not good enough, resulting in relative increase in fees and loss to the State budget.
Patients have to pay “unofficial fees”, besides the official ones to please the doctors and nurses, to get good quality healthcare services. Meanwhile, the employees in the hospitals have been underperforming, as they receive low salary, while the management of the hospitals are not efficient.
In addition to this, the overload of patients at the central hospitals in big cities, such as Hà Nội and HCM City, shows that there is a big gap in the quality and professionalism of district-level and city-level doctors and nurses, VAFI said.
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