Hospital with corrupt chief can't offer healthy service

Updated: 2015-04-29 07:52

(China Daily)

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Hospital with corrupt chief can't offer healthy service

Wang Tianchao, 57, former president of the No 1 People's Hospital in Yunnan, is suspected of misusing power in the construction of the hospital, in procurement of medical facilities and in personnel management. [Photo/IC]

That being the president of a big State-owned hospital can be very lucrative is no secret; the procurement of medical equipment and medicines has long been considered a channel to get kickbacks. Still, many people's jaws dropped when it was revealed that a hospital president in Southwest China's Yunnan province owned 100 apartments with 100 parking lots and had more than 30 million yuan ($4.83 million) in cash. The source of his wealth: bribes taken to sell positions in his hospital over a decade.

Now placed under investigation, he is the biggest rent-seeker in the medical circle that the anti-corruption campaign has exposed. But he will not be the last one as long as the anti-corruption campaign continues in State-owned hospitals.

The case has once again justified the maxim that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely, State-owned hospitals being no exception.

The abuse of power by hospital chiefs has a direct bearing on the quality of service patients get. To begin with, the money medical equipment and medicine sellers use to lubricate sales channels increases the cost of healthcare. And the extra money hospitals spend in buying medical equipment and medicines that end in the pockets of top hospital officials is paid by patients.

Corrupt officials will not even think of getting more specialist doctors and improving their medical services. Nor can doctors who pay to get positions as section leaders be expected to dedicate themselves to the welfare of patients. How can we expect the majority of medical workers under a corrupt leader to serve patients wholeheartedly?

That explains why conflicts are often reported between patients and doctors. And they have made the establishment of harmonious relations between the two parties a hot topic.

Reform of State-owned hospitals has long been on the government's agenda with the aim of providing patients with better and cheaper healthcare service. But this reform should be preceded by, or at least accompanied with an intensified crackdown on corruption in hospitals, because no matter what measures are taken, the reform will not succeed unless the corrupt elements are eliminated and power in the hands of hospital chiefs is curbed.