A shortage in medical personnel saw the new Dong Nai General Hospital create a long-term training programme to meet its human resource needs as well as achieve international accreditation.
Like many other public hospitals around the world, Vietnam’s Dong Nai General Hospital was no stranger to the chronic problem of patient overload. Just a provincial hospital when it was established in 1952, the hospital struggled for many years to accommodate 2,000 to 2,500 patient visits per day while handling 1,000 inpatients with only 800 beds available. In 2006, based on the proposal of the Dong Nai Provincial People's Committee, the Prime Minister approved US$210,000 in funds for the construction of a new Dong Nai General Hospital.
Construction was completed in April 2015. The new hospital boasted 1,400 new beds, nine functional offices, 23 clinical departments, and 10 sub-clinical departments. At the time, Dong Nai General Hospital Director, Dr Phan Huy Anh Vu, noted that the new infrastructure, equipment and its management team and staff would contribute heavily to the hospital’s future success. Since then the hospital has become one of the largest hospitals in the country, offering high quality healthcare services. By 2020, it expects to have in place accredited international standards that will see it provide medical services to foreign professionals working in the various local industrial parks.
Dong Nai General Hospital
Challenges to human resources
To achieve the ratio of 0.2-0.3 doctors per bed specified under the guidelines from the Ministry of Public Health in Decision 2997/QD-BYT, the hospital needed to recruit around 380 to 400 doctors, The additional doctors were expected to be sourced from the medical workforce in both Dong Nai province and across the nation, as well as from new graduates of medical schools such as Dong Nai Medical College and the University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
It also designed attractive compensation schemes to attract graduates and experienced doctors, including the immediate payment of VND10 million to doctors completing their first day of employment. “The Board of Management understands the aspirations of young doctors to have education opportunities as well as career development and advancement opportunities, together with a stable job, a secure income and a personal life,” said Dr Le Ngan, dean of orthopaedics.
However, as Le Tram, the hospital’s human resources manager notes, there is a human resource gap in terms of quality. “We need more leading experts and professional managers to run the hospital,” she says. The hospital lacks skilled doctors who are able to proficiently operate advanced equipment and treat serious diseases. Up to 59 percent of the doctors are undergraduates and details of employee education levels are given below in Table 1. According to Dr Le Ngan, young graduates obtain their general medical knowledge at college. When they come to work at the hospital they will be oriented and trained in a specialisation.
Weak management skills are also of concern. The hospital’s management team mostly have medical backgrounds: the leading medical experts appointed to management positions have little experience in directing hospital operations even though they excel at medical treatments. “Members of the leading and managing team are doctors, who are prominent at their majors, but not well-trained in managing,” said Dr Vu, a director of the hospital. The management team also has limited experience in operating and managing the hospital in the context of a combination of the public and private model.
Le Tram corroborated Dr Vu’s observation, adding that the management team needs to be trained in cutting-edge management skills to facilitate the productive capacity and sustainable development of the hospital.
Table 1. Employee education levels.
Source: Employee Track, Dong Nai General Hospital, December, 2014