CHINA> Regional
Warnings issued for poor medical services
By Wang Hongyi and Liang Qiwen (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-11-20 07:47

SHANGHAI: Four foreign-invested hospitals here have been issued disciplinary warnings for substandard services, and a foreign doctor has been found practicing with an expired license, following intensified checks to deal with the rising number of overseas medical practitioners, local health authorities said yesterday.

A citywide inspection focusing on foreign doctors licenses, foreign medical services and hospitals was carried out last week by the Shanghai health supervision agency to help increase foreign doctors' awareness of the country's medical practices.

A total of 98 foreign hospitals and clinics in 11 districts were inspected.

The health bureau did not give details of the four hospitals disciplined or the doctor who was found practicing with an expired license. The doctor is under investigation by the authorities.

"During our inspection, we found 64 facilities had established complete management systems for foreign doctors," health supervision agency official Hu Xuewei said yesterday.

Improper filing of medical records and prescriptions made up a major part of the substandard practices found, he said.

A total of 313 overseas doctors in the city had obtained medical licenses by August this year, compared with 383 for the whole of last year, the health authorities said.

The Shanghai East International Medical Center is one of the first to receive a comprehensive operating license in Shanghai, the center's general-director, Wang Suming, said.

"It is both important and necessary to conduct regular inquiries into the performance of foreign doctors and management of hospitals.

"After all, these concern patients' health and safety," Wang said last week.

Health authorities have also suggested that foreign doctors and hospitals being added to the city's medical fraternity produce a Chinese version of the key contents of medical records, diagnoses and prescriptions to "avoid misunderstanding".

Similarly, the southern province of Guangdong expects to see more overseas clinics and medical organizations, following an agreement it signed with Hong Kong in July, the provincial health department said yesterday.

More than 100 people from Hong Kong will qualify for the mainland's medical licenses in the coming three years, according to department official Feng Shaomin.

Under the agreement, Hong Kong medical service providers will be allowed to set up wholly owned outpatient clinics in Guangdong.

"A lot of Hong Kong people have come to ask about the details of the latest measures," Feng said.

(China Daily 11/20/2008 page4)