GP system planned after student death uproar

Updated: 2016-05-13 07:35

By Shan Juan(China Daily)

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'Putian' hospitals

A number of experimental treatments have long been performed in military hospitals, according to industry insiders.

Many hospitals collaborate with businesses from Putian, a city in east Fujian province that's home to owners of private hospitals around the country that are notorious for low standards and bogus treatments.

Many are known to have paid over the odds for prominent listings on Baidu, and some analysts have said that almost 50 percent of the company's revenue was derived from "Putian" hospitals.

In April last year, the Putian (Chinese) Health Industry Association, comprising more than 8,500 private hospitals, stopped paying for Baidu's listing services to protest a hike in fees. However, they resumed payments after just a week after the number of patients fell substantially.

In theory, private hospitals are allowed to supplement the limited number of public hospitals, but the quest for profit has resulted in misconduct, scams and a rising number of complaints from patients, such as Lu Xiuhuan, a businesswoman in Quanzhou, Fujian province.

Lu visited a friend who worked as a doctor at a Putian hospital. The doctor conducted an examination and then sent some samples to the lab under her own name.

"My friend told me that if they were submitted under my name, they would definitely turn out to be abnormal," Lu said.

However, some patients said they found Putian hospitals helpful. According to a Shanghai resident who only gave her name as Mona, an examination at a Putian hospital saved her baby.

She became pregnant a year ago, but had severe pains in her abdomen, so she attended a maternity hospital in Shanghai. After an ultrasound check indicated that Mona's uterus was empty, the doctors suspected she had an ectopic pregnancy, and asked her to undergo more tests. They suggested surgery if their suspicions proved to be correct.

"However, I believed the chances were that the baby was too small to be seen because of the short gestation period. I didn't want to lose my child," the 29-year-old said.

Instead, she followed a friend's recommendation and went to a Putian hospital, where the doctors asked her to have an ultrasound check immediately.

"They stared at the screen and saw the baby in my womb. I was very grateful to them and thankful for my determination," said Mona, who later gave birth to a healthy daughter.

Public/private split

By the end of last year, China had 13,600 private hospitals, and 13,304 public ones, according to official statistics. However, public hospitals provide 80 percent of the nation's healthcare services.

Liu Guo'en, an economics professor at Peking University, said misconduct at some Putian hospitals is not indicative of standards at all private hospitals, and urged more government-backed incentives to aid the healthy development of private medicine.

"Competition is always good for improving the quality of services," he said.

At present, the best resources are usually found at public hospitals, which is why the clinic in which Wei was treated chose to cooperate with a public military hospital, he said.

"A level playing field and strict regulation and supervision are key to the sector's healthy development."

Zhang Yu in Shijiazhuang and Zhou Wenting in Shanghai contributed to this story.

GP system planned after student death uproar

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