Opinion / Opinion Line

Emergency rescue service and hospitals play different roles

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-01 08:39

Emergency rescue service and hospitals play different roles

A TELEVISION JOURNALIST has reportedly received an apology and an offer of compensation from the Beijing 999 Emergency Rescue Center, which gave him excessive checkups after he fell ill on a flight to the capital earlier this month. The Beijing News says that the emergency rescue center should strictly fulfill its due responsibility and transfer patients to a proper hospital.

Of course, the reason why the Beijing 999 Emergency Rescue Center delayed the journalist's treatment remains unclear and has still to be determined. However, what is even more noteworthy is that the center has too much power as both an emergency service provider and a medical institution.

As a public service, pre-hospital treatment should be independent of any third-party organization. That being said, the emergency rescue center should take patients to the most suitable hospital, not some affiliated alternatives, as soon as possible.

This is because a conflict of interest will certainly take place among hospitals if some of the mare affiliated to the local emergency rescue center. A lack of patients will deal a major financial blow to most hospitals, and it is possible that those that have a good relationship with the emergency rescue center will receive more patients, regardless of their physical condition and preference for where they want to be treated.

This entrenched community of shared interests must be broken.

That the 120 Beijing Emergency Medical Center turned its in-hospital medical service into a platform solely targeted at emergency rescues in 2005, shows that such institutional reform is feasible and should be adopted by the 999 Emergency Rescue Center too.

Such flawed management has to stop. For the time being, it is more urgent to recalibrate the role of the rescue center than holding it accountable for the latest incident. For example, the center could be separated from the Beijing Red Cross Society as well as the vested interests within the group; it could also be merged with the 120 Beijing Emergency Medical Center to form a neutral emergency rescue platform.

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