There’s a big problem with big hospitals and healthcare in China. And it’s growing. A recent report by Reuters delves into this underlying issues in the county with the largest hospital – in the world – numbering some 7,000 beds.
Imagine how it would be for you to have to wake up at five in the morning in order to take your wife to the hospital for a gynecologist’s appointment. To then wait in queue for more than a few hours so that you could be among the first to go when the doctor gets to his office. And then go back out in a few minutes. Strange? Yes. Maybe even inhumane.
Yet, as the Reuters report suggest, this is the norm for Cai, who wouldn’t have it any other way. And that’s exactly what seems to be the bigger issue at stake.
At the break of dawn, the pavements and alleyways in front the hospitals are filled with the relatives of the patients inside, waiting outside, with only the sky as a roof. Sometimes it may be raining. Other times snowing. It seldom matters. Those inside are crowded in the hallways. Beds are all over. The sick are sitting with relatives in the stairways waiting to be given a bed for which they paid, but never received.
In China, there are more than 16 hospitals witch conditions such as the above. Hospitals with over 3 thousand beds. The report makes a comparison with the Presbyterian hospital in New York – the largest in the States – which has 2,478 beds.
The contradiction in point of fact of China’s policies is that, in whichever sector of the economy, China usually functions under the “bigger is better.” For the healthcare industry, Beijing has adopted a directive which severely restricts public hospitals from expanding. However the administrations of these medical mega-buildings have found ways to avoid this.
The biggest risk that these hospitals pose is that of infection, like that which happened recently in South Korea, in Seoul’s Samsung Medical Center. 200 people were then infected with MERS in the 1,900 bed hospital, many of whom already suffered from other ailments.
The lack of funding forces hospitals into expanding, as the growing middle-class, and the growing number of aging people have the possibility to provide for the hospital’s expenses. The whole situation is an ever deteriorating chain of events. The belief is that if hospitals would stop expanding, then they would rapidly file for bankruptcy.
Yet, the system of China’s hospitals is not the only one that needs reworking, but the mentality of the people, as shown at the beginning. Although there are smaller hospitals which work just fine, people crowd in the biggest of them expecting better treatment. The case is rarely so.
Image source: businessinsider.com