Hospitals in big cities face overcrowding again

After a relatively empty period due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, many large hospitals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have recently become overcrowded  due to patients from many localities flocking to big cities for treatment affecting the psychological well-being of health care workers.
Hospitals in big cities face overcrowding again ảnh 1 Patients waits to take their drugs at a hospital (Photo: SGGP)
Around 4:00 a.m. on September 14, the gate of the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital was packed with people who were sitting and some others were standing; subsequently, the infirmary security team worked had to work hard to guide vehicles to drop off visitors for medical examination and treatment for curbing traffic jams.
A 55-year-old man from the Mekong Delta Province of Vinh Long came to Ho Chi Minh City at 4 AM moaning that he supposed just a few people registered to see doctors early, but in fact, many people thought the same as him. As a result, he can see doctors in the early afternoon.
The medical examination and treatment area and many departments of Cho Ray Hospital were also crowded with patients early. Many patients said that they had to leave their homes at 3 AM or 4 AM and had to wait a long time to get to the hospital for an examination.
Dr. Nguyen Tri Thuc, Director of Cho Ray Hospital, said that the hospital averagely receives more than 10,000 patients every day for examination and treatment. From the second quarter of 2022 until now, the number of patients has increased dramatically, the special wards admitted more patients an increase of 5 times, while the lack of equipment, supplies, and medicines has put the hospital under a lot of pressure.
Many large hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City such as the People Hospital 115 , Nhan Dan Gia Dinh Hospital, Oncology, Ear, Nose and Throat, Eye, Le Van Thinh, also recorded a very high increase in patients coming to medical examination and treatment of heart disease, geriatric, respiratory, infectious, pediatric, and oncology. Many infirmaries receive 1,200-10,000 patients per day, an increase of more than 30 percent compared to before.
Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital, Vietnam-Germany Hospital, and the Cancer Hospital are also under great pressure due to overcrowding. Many people said that they spent the whole morning, even a day completing the clinical indications. Sometimes, those undergoing surgery must wait for 1-2 weeks if their operation is not urgent.
Mr. Nguyen Manh Khanh, Deputy Director of Vietnam-Germany Hospital, said that about three months ago, the number of patients visiting the clinic increased by more than 300 percent, causing the hospital to be seriously overloaded. In 2021, the hospital performed 29,000 surgeries while from the beginning of 2022, the hospital has performed about 40,000 surgeries. Because of the large number of patients, the hospital's doctors and nurses have to increase their working hours to 15-16 hours per day.
Hospitals in big cities face overcrowding again ảnh 2 Patients are being treated in Cho Ray Hospital (Photo: SGGP)
A doctor from Cho Ray Hospital said that he has to work continuously from early morning to night, spending more time at the hospital than at home. Medical workers are on duty at the hospital, during holidays and Tet holidays even working more than usual. Dr. Tang Ha Nam Anh of Tam Anh Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City moaned that doctors and nurses might make mistakes under considerable work pressure. Moreover, he revealed overworking for a long time made him have insomnia in a short time.
Explaining the cause of the sudden increase in patients leading to overcrowding, leaders of some hospitals said that when the epidemic was well controlled, people rushed to see a doctor. Along with that, because many medical facilities have not well solved problems in terms of expertise, equipment, and human resources, patients have had no choice but to flock to big hospitals in large cities.
To solve the overcrowding at big hospitals, many have raised their opinion that the sector should improve the quality of medical facilities in small healthcare establishments. At the same time, the sector should apply information technology from hospital management, and electronic medical records to telehealth. The Ministry of Health needs to invest in capacity building for grassroots health care to do well in primary health care with the aim to reduce unnecessary transfers of patients to bigger infirmaries. At the same time, satellite and nuclear hospital networks should be developed more.
Recently, at the online conference “Improving people's health care, proactively adapting flexibly, contributing to quick recovery and sustainable development" organized by the Ministry of Health, Acting Minister of Health Dao Hong Lan pointed out many limitations and shortcomings that the health sector needs to focus on handling such as slow adjustment of medical service prices, medical staff quitting or quitting at public health facilities and shortage of drugs, medical supplies and equipment and overcrowding in hospitals.
As result, according to Ms. Dao Hong Lan, in the immediate future, she will focus on removing difficulties and obstacles in procurement and bidding, accelerating the disbursement of public investment capital, and stepping up the licensing of drugs and medical equipment.
At the same time, the sector will take heed of solutions for long-term problems such as perfecting institutions and health policies, renovating health finance, developing preventive medicine and grassroots health, improving the quality of medical services at all levels, ensuring the efficient operation of the medical examination and treatment system.

By staff writers – Translated by Anh Quan

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