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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Staff shortage dogs Tibetan hospitals

By An Baijie (China Daily)

10:18, December 27, 2011

Barkhor, president of Hongxing Township Hospital in Zoige county, Sichuan province, which employs traditional Tibetan therapy, checks a patient on Dec 16. Local hospitals are short of doctors and facilities. (Feng Yongbin / China Daily)

ZOIGE, Sichuan - Ethnic Tibetan doctor Atra, 75, arrived at the hospital at about 10 am, put on his white uniform, and started checking the patients waiting in line. He retired 15 years ago but still offers a voluntary service.

Atra, former president of the Hongxing Township Hospital in Zoige county of Sichuan province, said the Tibetan-medicine hospital has been short of hands for a long time. As a result, he had to continue working there even after retirement.

"There are only seven doctors in the hospital, but on some days we have more than 200 patients turning up," Atra told China Daily.

Even during his short interview with China Daily, at least five patients, mostly elderly and children, walked into the clinic, seeking medical treatment.

Barkhor, 62, president of the Hongxing Township Hospital, said that at least one of the doctors would be on night shift every day, which meant there was one doctor less during the day.

"We are so short staffed that doctors are required to handle even the financial aspects, although they have little experience to do so," Barkhor told China Daily.

There are a total of 17 township hospitals and 97 village clinics in Zoige county, 500 kilometers away from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, according to the website of the county government.

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