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Thousands of medical workers resign, low pay is main cause

There has been a wave of medical workers quitting their jobs at public hospitals and medical centers.

“In marriage, when wives and husbands find their partners no longer attractive, they file for divorce. When medical workers find the working conditions at public hospitals no longer attractive, they leave,” said Nguyen Huy Quang, former Director of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Health (MOH). There must be an overall assessment of the situation to find the exact reasons behind the wave.

It is necessary to find out how many medical workers have resigned, which hospitals and which departments have seen the highest numbers of workers leaving, and other factors, as well as to analyze the ages of the resigned. If they are 35-40 years old, this is a serious problem because doctors at those ages have experience and enthusiasm.

The assessment needs to be performed in line with classification of medical workers (physicians, technician, nurses…). Also, it’s necessary to find out why medical workers leave public hospitals for private ones.

“Only when we have overall assessments will we see the real situation and the severity of the problem, and find reasons that need to be settled,” Quang said. He pointed out some reasons.

First, it is low incomes. To have medical practice skills, a doctor needs to be trained and updated with professional knowledge for many years. When they are 30-35 years old, they have to take responsibility for their families. With monthly salary of VND5-7 million, they can’t devote themselves, if noting that home helpers can earn VND7-10 million/month and a bricklayer can earn VND300,000/day.

Second, they work under hard pressure, while occupational safety is not guaranteed. The heavy workload and required high-quality services make medical workers feel tired and they don’t have time to rest to re-generate their energy. They also face insults and even threats from patients’ relatives. Meanwhile, measures to protect them is inadequate.

Third, medicine, medical supplies and equipment are shortage at public hospitals. This makes it difficult for doctors to examine, diagnose and treat patients. This does not happen at private hospitals.

Fourth, there are not many opportunities for doctors to study and practice medical skills at public hospitals. They have to wait for their turns to go studying. Meanwhile, private hospitals always create favorable conditions for doctors to be trained and improve their skills.

Fifth, there is difference in the promotion between private and public sectors. To become top leaders at public hospitals, one needs to have political theory at a certain level and needs to be in the list of cadres programmed for the posts. At private hospitals, he just needs to have deep professional knowledge and morality virtues to be appointed to the posts.

Sixth, the administration scheme at public hospitals is different from private ones as it has been there for many years, while it is changed regularly at private hospitals. This is an important reason for private hospitals to attract medical workers.

Low income is not the only reason behind medical workers’ decision to leave public hospitals. Particularly, after the pandemic, they have to handle heavy and strenuous work, but could not receive allowance.

Without solutions to retain medical workers, the healthcare sector would suffer, because it takes many years to train qualified and skillful doctors.

Ngoc Trang

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