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Vietnamese patients spend big for overseas treatment due to better bedside manners

Thursday, January 21, 2016, 14:51 GMT+7

An increasing number of Vietnamese patients are spending big to receive medical treatment overseas despite the availability of qualified doctors and high-quality medication in Vietnam, as they prefer the bedside manners of foreign clinicians.

Many healthcare centers as well as tourist companies in the Southeast Asian country are also offering services in which patients can be transferred to infirmaries in foreign nations to receive their medical care.

The majority of Vietnamese people agree that the primary reason why they want to be treated by foreign doctors is their kind and attentive attitude.

Statistics show that Vietnamese spend billions of dollars on medical care abroad a year.

Despite the costly budget, the excellent bedside manners of the doctors help create motivation for the patients to overcome their adversity, said a woman residing in the northern city of Hai Phong, who had her breast cancer treated in Singapore.

“The Vietnamese doctors barely asked me about my illness before sending me to examinations,” she stated, adding that she had to wait for a long time in every step of the check-up.

N.T.H., 57, who is living in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City and has been treated by Singaporean doctors, highlighted the practitioners’ level of responsibility as well as their assertiveness in terms of diagnosing, treatment counseling, and listing expenses.

She added that ever since her overseas treatment, she could always contact the foreign doctors via phone or email to receive their opinions on health-related issues.

“Although modern policies and packaged tours, which cover accommodations, transport, translation, and other necessities, have facilitated the demand for overseas medical care, the cost is still high - around four to ten times higher than that of domestic treatment,” said Dr. Phan Thanh Hai, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Medical Association.

Vietnamese doctors are fully capable of treating the diseases and domestic hospitals can provide all necessary technology and equipment to support the diagnosis and treatment, Dr. Hai asserted.

The only thing that infirmaries in Vietnam lack is the ability to organize their healthcare services in a way that will provide prompt and favorable service for their patients, he explained.

Vietnam should train more qualified doctors as well as improve the payroll for Vietnamese practitioners in order to offer better healthcare services, a Vietnamese doctor said.

“A doctor sometimes has to meet dozens of patients on a daily basis. If we provide a thorough examination for one patient, more time will be needed and others will have a longer wait,” he added.

The total amount of money spent by Vietnamese on overseas treatment is estimated at about US$2 billion per annum, according to Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the Medical Services Administration under the Ministry of Health.

Vietnamese who travel to Singapore to receive medical attention are usually patients of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, joint and bone problems, sports injuries, or in need of liver or kidney transplant, according to statistics collected by the representative office of a Singaporean hospital in Hanoi.

The cost for a liver transplant in Singapore is US$187,730, twice as high as the total expense for such service in Vietnam.

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