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China issues rules to curb misconducts in hospitals

(Xinhua)

08:10, July 19, 2012

BEIJING, July 18 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Health (MOH) publicized on Wednesday a set of code of conduct on hospital personnel's behavior to standardize services and curb misconducts such as corruption, medical negligence and excessive medical treatment.

The code asks medical institution personnel to abide by medical ethics, serve patients wholeheartedly, respect patients' privacy and rights, and offer professional services.

Medical staff should better communicate with patients to promote harmonious relations, it says.

In addition, the code bans medical institution personnel from seeking illicit gain from patients, accepting kickback from medical equipment or drug producers and sellers, or participating in advertising activities for medicine or medical devices.

Apart from laying down basic criteria for the country's 8.6 million hospital personnel including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and administrative and logistic staff, the 60-article code also specifies requirements for each category of personnel.

The code requires doctors to follow strictly the medical and technical criteria and procedure, and give out reasonable instead of "excessive" medical treatment.

Zhao Minggang, vice director of the MOH's medical administration department, said at Wednesday's press conference on the new code that it's fairly difficult to decide whether a medical treatment is excessive or not due to the professional and complicated medical process.

"But we definitely oppose doctors from prescribing unnecessary medical examination or treatment for their personal interests. This kind of behavior should definitely be defined as excessive treatment and is forbidden by both the administrative authorities and laws," Zhao said.

"The new code aims to standardize medical service and make it more scientific, humane, and convenient for the public," he said.

China's medical institutions received 6.3 billion outpatients last year, which means five visits by each citizen on average, according to Zhao.

"Doctor-patient relationship is one of the country's most important public relations now. We also expect the code to boost more harmonious ties between medical personnel and patients and let the public better enjoy the achievements of China's medicare reform," he said.

Xie Qilin, deputy secretary-general of Chinese Medical Doctor Association, said at the same press conference that some experts propose to blacklist doctors with serious misconduct.

"The association is considering the proposal's feasibility," Xie said.

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