This post was edited by sansukong at 2012-12-27 12:56|
Full hospitals ordered to take patients
Global Times | 2012-12-26 0:54:05
By Yin Yeping
Patients’ families sit at the emergency room of Fuwai Hospital in Xicheng district Tuesday night. Photo: Li Hao/GT
A new regulation will compel Beijing's overwhelmed large hospitals to accept emergency patients to fix the deadly problem of people being turned away because there are no free beds.
But experts said Tuesday that the proposed rules will be of little use because they do not address the fundamental problems the hospitals face: they are flooded by people from around the country seeking the best care available, and elderly people with chronic conditions are using the top hospitals for long-term care.Li Zi, an editor at the People's Health News, told the Global Times that her father died in September of a cerebral hemorrhage because of the shortage of beds.
"My father was in a small hospital but then moved to the larger Xuanwu Hospital, where the medical facilities for treating his illness are better," she said. "Yet when the ambulance took him there, we were told that the hospital had run out of beds."
After six hours of waiting, her father died, she said, adding a lack of beds was no excuse for not offering her father treatment.
Under the new regulation from the Beijing Health Bureau, hospitals that turn people away from their emergency rooms will have their quality rating lowered, a blow to their prestige.Ma Yanming, the media officer of the Beijing Health Bureau, warned the bed shortage cannot be solved until patients stop overwhelming top hospitals."Many patients believe that they could get the best treatment at first-class or large hospitals, which results in these hospitals always being fully occupied while the small ones are empty," he said. "This thought needs to be changed first."Wang Shan, the president of the Peking University People's Hospital, which has a "first-class" rating, said people from across the country are flooding the hospital because of its top doctors.
"Patients with all kinds of illness are coming to us for treatment, therefore leading to the great shortages of hospital beds," he said.Wang said that the proposed policy has a good aim, but adds that hospitals can't just kick out patients to make space in emergency rooms. "Every patient is equal to us and we could not force patients to move out from hospitals and leave the beds to those with emergency needs," he said.Complicating matters, he noted that some patients use the hospital as a nursing home and stay for a long period, another cause of the bed shortages.This point was echoed by Hu Xiaohua, a nurse at the People's Liberation Army Second Artillery Forces General Hospital, who said that the main occupants of the beds are elder patients with chronic diseases.The new regulation does nothing to make smaller hospitals, with their inferior doctors and infrastructure, more attractive to patients.Zhou Zijun, a professor with the School of Public Health of Peking University, suggests that the government should allow large hospitals to annex small hospitals and assign top doctors to spend time at them to tackle this problem.Zhou also noted that retirees from government departments, who may receive free medical care, are one reason why the occupation rate of top hospitals' beds by elderly people is so high.