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|Social workers at Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi talk to patients’ relatives. (Photo: VNA)|
HCM City - Social work has developed greatly at hospitals around the country, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son told a recent conference to review the last 10 years of its development held in HCM City.
All central-level hospitals, 90 percent at the provincial level and 80 percent at the district level now have social work departments, and the number of social workers at hospitals has increased, according to the deputy minister.
In the past social workers at hospitals mostly used to be involved with charity, but now also provide psychological assistance to patients.
During the COVID-19 outbreaks they did the tasks of screening people entering hospitals and teaching patients preventive measures well.
They have called on companies to donate medical equipment.
The social work department at Cho Ray Hospital was held up as an outstanding model.
Nguyen Tri Thuc, the hospital’s director, said the department had been developed from a social work team set up in 2004.
“It has worked with charity organisations and sponsors to subsidise hospital fees for poor patients, and has been providing 5,000 free meals to poor patients every day for the last 12 years.”
It also provides psychological assistance in many ways, he said, adding that this year, for instance, patients getting infusion therapy could listen to symphony music or read newspapers.
Social workers at hospitals also provide legal assistance to patients and help them perform daily activities.
But Son also pointed to deficiencies like lack of a legal framework for such activities.
More training courses should be organised to improve the capacity of social workers at hospitals, he said.
Assoc Prof Nguyen Tuan Hung, deputy director of the Ministry of Health’s personnel and organisation department, said social work had been developed throughout the country, contributing to the creation of an advanced social welfare system.