China / Society

Hospitals to require advance bookings

By Wang Xiaodong (China Daily) Updated: 2016-02-19 07:59

Patients with nonemergency conditions will soon have to make advance appointments before going to a major hospital in Beijing.

All 22 major hospitals under the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning will stop issuing registration tickets on site for nonemergency patients over the next 10 months. Patients can make appointments through the Internet, mobile phone, telephone and ticket machines at hospitals, Yu Luming, head of Beijing Municipal Administration of Hospitals, said on Thursday.

The measure is expected to ease the excessive crowds of waiting patients, he said.

It may also encourage patients with minor diseases to seek treatment in smaller hospitals so that more patients with serious diseases can be treated in big hospitals.

The Beijing Children's Hospital has been piloting the program, Yu said.

It is predicted that by the end of the year, 75 percent of patients going to the 22 hospitals for treatment will make reservations, according to Ju Xiaohong, spokesman of the Beijing Municipal Administration of Hospitals.

"We will guide nonemergency patients to gradually shift to making reservations instead of on-site registration," he said.

"Hospital volunteers will guide patients to make reservations online or through the auto ticket issuing machines in the hospitals."

In addition to the 22 hospitals, Beijing has dozens of other big hospitals under the administration of different authorities, such as the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the People's Liberation Army.

Since the Beijing Children's Hospital started to require nonemergency patients to make appointments in June, the number of patients waiting in line for registration in the hospital between 7 am and 8 am has been reduced by more than 18 percent, according to Ni Xin, president of the hospital.

Before the system was adopted, it was common to see patients waiting overnight, he said.

The measure also helped to reduce the number of scalpers at the hospital, which has been a complaint among patients for years, due to the real-name registration system that requires patients present their ID cards to be registered, he said.

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