Patients wait to be examined at a Ho Chi Minh City hospital on March 1, 2016. Photo: Khanh An
Public hospital fees will increase significantly this month and then in July as Vietnam tries to reduce subsidies from the state budget.
The daily fee for an inpatient bed will be raised gradually in March and July.
Beds at top-tiered hospitals, for instance, will cost VND354,000 (US$15.80) in March and then VND677,000 in July, up from the current VND335,000. Vietnam categorizes public hospitals in five grades.
Fees for surgical procedures will also surge across the board. Examination fees will be set at VND29,000-39,000 ($1.30-1.75) from July, compared to VND7,000-20,000 now
According to the Ministry of Health, the average increase will be 30 percent for 1,887 services.
At a conference in Hanoi on Monday, the Medical Examination and Treatment Department reported that the average number of beds has increased to 32.1 per 10,000 residents this year. Of 39 central hospitals, 35 have committed to ending the long-lasting problem of several patients sharing one bed.
Administrative reforms have also reduced overloading at many hospitals. Still, a patient has to wait for an average of 48.5 minutes before being examined at public hospitals.
Last year, more than 1,300 hospitals nationwide offered examination and treatment services for 146 million patients, up 4.5 percent from 2014.