Sunday , April 2 2023

Largest surgical center in northern Vietnam cuts back on surgeries due to severe shortages

Viet Duc Hospital, the largest surgical center in northern Vietnam, has cut back on scheduled surgeries beginning Wednesday to save limited resources for emergency cases.

The Hanoi hospital said on Feb. 24 that it only had one week of some medicines needed for treatment left, and only two weeks of chemicals needed for organ transplants.

A doctor said the hospital has scheduled to perform surgeries for around 100 patients until the end of March. “But now all have to be delayed indefinitely.”

The doctor described his discomfort about having to call patients and inform them that they could not be admitted for surgeries yet.

Since last year, Viet Duc Hospital has performed over 79,000 surgeries. Thousands of people come to the hospital every day for diagnoses, treatments and other medical requests.

Tran Binh Giang, director of the hospital, said its medical shortages require an urgent solution from the government. Otherwise, the hospital will only be able to receive emergency cases, and may even have to suspend surgeries altogether.

Giang said that in the past, hospitals were allowed to use the health insurance fund of Vietnam Social Security to pay for equipment, supplies, chemicals, machines and services provided by companies and outside contractors.

However, a new government’s resolution that took effect in November 2022 prohibited the use of medical insurance to pay for such contracts. Thus, since December last year, many hospitals have not had the funds to buy new supplies. Giang said several hospitals were now experiencing shortages as a result.

Cho Ray, the largest public facility in southern Vietnam, and Bach Mai, Hanoi’s largest public hospital, have not been able to buy equipment and chemicals for examinations, and had to send their patients to private facilities for procedures such as CT scan, MRI scan or and color Doppler ultrasound scans.

Aside from the current financial problems, a shortage of medical supplies and chemical sterilants has been affecting major hospitals across Vietnam since at least early 2022.

Official statistics released in July 2022 showed that 82% of medical facilities and 57% of central hospitals, or 12 out of 21 facilities, lacked medicine and equipment, forcing patients and their families to buy their own supplies from outside vendors, including the most basic items such as needles and bandages.

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