Incomes in medical sector must be reviewed for effective reform
  • | VietnamNet, dtinews | February 28, 2014 08:17 AM

Public hospitals should review the pay scale of medical staff to help make the sector's reform more effective, said Dr. Pham Manh Hung, Chairman of Vietnam Medical Association.

According to Dr. Hung, many doctors complain about low pay. While this is true at most hospitals, doctors also earn extra income aside from their salary from the state, with doctors in cities often earning more than their rural counterparts.


 Dr. Pham Manh Hung, Chairman of Vietnam Medical Association

“I cannot say for sure how many doctors have high incomes. This issue needs an honest and objective inspection. Where does doctors’ extra income come from, which should be clearly clarified,” he said. While doctors often say their salaries are low, in fact their overall incomes can be quite high. Dr. Hung said that the concept of salary and wages should not be separated. 

“In my opinion, public hospitals should use some of the financial management methods of private hospitals to make staff income transparent,” he suggested.

According to the Dr. Hung, such transparency is necessary for meaningful reform.

During the period of subsidies in Vietnam doctors focused on serving patients and scientific research as all their income came from the state. But more recently doctors spend more time and energy augmenting their incomes. Dr. Hung said this has had negative impacts. 

“I think that management agencies should create mechanisms so that doctors would not need to think of ways to earn extra money,” he emphasised. But he added that before such an adjustment is carried out, a thorough review of the payment system must be done.

As long as doctors preoccupied with earning a living and not completely on medicine, any reform policies will be ineffective and opposed by doctors, he said, adding that purely disciplinary measures taken now would be unlikely to create the intended results.

The income disparity between urban and rural areas, has also caused doctors to flock to cities, leaving in a gap in disadvantaged areas.

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