The whole operation was the brainchild of Katrin Kandel, CEO of Facing the World – a UK-based charity helping correct facial deformities in children. She has worked tirelessly for the past three years, mainly during the COVID pandemic, to secure the status for the hospitals here in Việt Nam.
“It’s been a long journey but seeing these amazing health facilities receive such a prestigious honour is an incredibly proud moment,” Katrin said. “But the real heroes behind this accreditation are the hardworking, caring and dedicated staff who each day work tirelessly to make lives better for thousands of Vietnamese patients. We are hoping to be able to use the Royal College to enable younger Vietnamese doctors to come to the UK and work under something called the International Surgical Training Programme, where they can train for one to two years and then come back and increase the expertise of the centres.”
Representatives at the three hospitals understand this is a massive opportunity to not only improve the quality of their own staff, but also better the health of a nation. Văn Tuấn Nhật, Deputy General Director at Hồng Ngọc Hospital, said: “From my perspective, I see that this cooperation is a major milestone not only for the centrally-run hospitals but also private ones like Hồng Ngọc Hospital. From this collaboration, there will be more exchanges between the health sectors of the UK and Việt Nam and this will happen very soon.”
Lê Diệp Linh, Deputy Head of the Center for Craniofacial and Plastic Surgery at the 108 Military Hospital, added: “This is both a humanitarian surgery and an opportunity to transfer large and difficult techniques from advanced countries to Việt Nam.”
Nguyễn Hồng Hà, Head of the Facial Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery Department at Việt Đức Hospital, added: “The cooperation with the UK, which has been renowned for their significant experience, gives us the chance to learn about a new approach. They have a team of plastic surgeons, otolaryngologists, eye surgeons, neurosurgeons, anaesthesiologists coming here to do a surgery. So they can all do it at once without having it done many times separately so it saves us a lot of time compared to the old way of doing it. This collaboration will allow us to learn from their approach.”