Private hospitals begin to nurse big ambitions

Updated: 2012-08-22 08:07

By Yang Wanli (China Daily)

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"But we still feel helpless. From a policy prospective, private hospitals should get the same support as public ones," he said.

Huang said it is difficult getting medical insurance to cover his unique treatments, as in China medical insurance is linked to the costs of the medical treatments and medicines that are provided by public hospitals.

But he said another problem is he can't compete with public hospitals when it comes to attracting new doctors.

"Graduates from well-known medical colleges want a Beijing hukou (the highly sought after residence permit) as well as an apartment, which most public hospitals in the city can provide. But for us, all these are impossible," he said.

Private hospitals begin to nurse big ambitions 

And another reason talented doctors are hard to find is that even though private hospitals offer higher incomes, doctors working in private hospitals have difficulty moving up the professional ladder. This is because in China the public department that manages the hospital, for example the local health bureau or a certain institute, is in charge of doctor certification. In order to avoid being held responsible for any possible lawsuits in cases of malpractice, some departments delay or refuse to give new certificates to doctors working in private hospitals.

"For senior professional titles, such as deputy-chief and chief physician, we can qualify for the title by passing the national test, but we can't get a certificate," said Xiong Ning, an ophthalmologist, who previously worked in two public hospitals in Beijing, but who moved to the Jia Yue Eye Surgery Centre, under the Singapore Medical Group, a few months ago.

However, Xiong said she decided to join Jia Yue, because the public hospitals she worked in did not specialize in eye surgery and she wanted professional development. Jia Yue offers her opportunities to go abroad to learn new techniques.

More time for patients

To some, such as 39-year-old Zhou Jingsheng, who worked in the rehabilitation center of a public hospital in Beijing for many years, switching to a private hospital offers more job satisfaction.

"Rehabilitation gets less support in public hospitals because it brings in less money than surgery," he said. "Now I can dedicate all my time to taking care of my patients and learning new techniques. Job satisfaction is really important to me."

Zhou said he loves his job and wants to provide patients with the best help he can. He visited the US to learn about rehabilitation techniques in 2008, and in March this year, he joined Beijing United Family Hospital.

Private hospitals begin to nurse big ambitions 

"Here, I can apply what I learned in the US and provide better treatment to patients."

Pan Zhongying, general-manager of Beijing United Family Hospital, said that in private hospitals and clinics doctors can give more attention to patients because they have more time to focus on patients.

"In some public hospitals, a physician sees more than 50 patients in a morning and they have to do all the administrative work as well. In private hospitals, they only need to take care of patients, the administrative tasks are done by other professionals," she said.

Pan also said that because private hospitals and clinics pay their medical workers higher salaries they don't have the "gray income" problem found in public hospitals, where doctors increase their incomes by prescribing expensive medicines and treatments.

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