Home / China / China

Top medical authority says appointment scalpers will be punished

By Yang Wanli | China Daily | Updated: 2016-01-28 08:07

China's top medical authority will investigate and punish the scalping of hospital bookings, a spokesperson announced on Wednesday.

A video clip went viral on China's social network this week recording a young girl weeping inconsolably while claiming that hospital staff colluded with scalpers.

The girl said she had been waiting in the hospital for an outpatient appointment for two days, and still could not get a ticket.

Top medical authority says appointment scalpers will be punished

Contact cards promising to schedule a doctor's appointment for patients are seized by police from a woman near Beijing Children's Hospital in January. Cao Boyuan / For China Daily


She complained that an appointment slip in Guang'anmen Hospital that originally cost 300 yuan ($45) was being offered by scalpers for more than 4,500 yuan. She later called the police to intervene.

The hospital is known for traditional Chinese medicine.

Mao Qun'an, spokesman of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said the Beijing municipal health department would look into the incident, and any medical staff found hoarding appointment tickets or selling them to scalpers would be severely punished.

Mao said the commission requires healthcare providers to cooperate with the police.

Guang'anmen Hospital said it has no evidence that staff colluded with scalpers.

In China, paying for a medical appointment in advance is common in many hospitals, and most patients get there early in the morning to guarantee themselves a spot.

The country's top public hospitals are always full of patients, and getting an appointment with a department director is extremely hard, making the illegal trade of appointment slips a popular business.

Many dealers wait outside the registry at 3 am or earlier to get an appointment, and will later sell their slip number to legitimate patients at a much higher price.

On Friday, a total of 32 dealers were caught by the police in Beijing's Haidian district.

"Currently, there are no laws or regulations on such a trade, and most dealers are held in custody for a few days. The lack of punishment provides a loophole," said Zheng Xueqian, a law committee member of the Chinese Hospital Association.

Since 2015, many hospitals in Beijing have made more appointments available via online channels, including hospital apps and social media.

Appointments should be made with the patient's name and identity number to prevent secondhand sales.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

Editor's picks
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349