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Vietnamese health minister grills hospital managers over dirty toilets

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Dirty toilets at a hospital are an indicator that its director and department heads are also unclean, the minister said

An attendant cleans a washroom at Hospital K in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre


Vietnamese Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien believes that if washrooms at a certain hospital are dirty, it is an indication that the clinic’s director and heads of its departments are also unclean.

The minister made the strongly-worded remarks at a meeting held by her ministry on Friday, where hospital managers gathered to discuss solutions to cut down waiting time for patients and improve hygiene for washrooms at clinics countrywide.

Around 20 percent of patients responding to a recent survey showed their discontent with various hospital services, and the majority of these respondents were displeased the most with the poor conditions of toilets at local clinics, Tien said at the event.

According to the health minister, approximately 19 percent of hospital washrooms across Vietnam do not meet required standards.

“A standard hospital restroom must be separated by genders and has to be equipped with a carpet, a sink, a mirror, a bin, liquid hand soap and toilet papers," Minister Tien said.

“The washroom floor also needs to be clean and dry constantly.”

​Vietnamese health minister grills hospital managers over dirty toilets

An attendant cleans a washroom at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre


One hospital manager among the attendees complained that why he had to listen to toilet-related issues and was immediately criticized for his remarks.

It is the director of any hospital who has to take responsibilities if his or her medical facility is found to have dirty washrooms, according to the minister.

Many hospital directors admitted to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that their medical facilities are still dirty, have unpleasant smell and fall behind such a set of standards pointed out by the minister.

The clinic managers made an excuse that there are too many patients, while they do not have enough staff to keep the toilets constantly clean.

The hospital directors added that they did not want to put handwash and toilet paper in the toilets as these items tend to be ‘stolen’, a common problem in various public places in Vietnam.

However, after the meeting with the health minister, Tran Van Thuan, director of Hospital K in Hanoi, promised to have washrooms at his clinic renovated to meet the required standards within the next six months.

​Vietnamese health minister grills hospital managers over dirty toilets

A woman covers her nose in front of a toilet at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre


Addressing the chronic issue involving patients having to wait for a long time at local hospitals to see the doctor, the health minister suggested that hospitals should promote appointment booking through telephone and the Internet.

Patients often have to skip their breakfast for check-ups and will be very tired if they have to wait until 11:00 am,” the minister explained.

The average waiting time for a regular clinical check-up is 45 minutes, and 56 minutes in the case of para-clinical examination, according to Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the Vietnam Administration of Medical Services under the Ministry of Health.

“Why not allow patients to book for check-ups in advance, and set up more reception desks in hospitals to speed up this process?” the health ministers questioned.


Source: Tuoi Tre News

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