Blacklist, life bans proposed for doctors

Updated: 2013-08-13 07:34

By Wang Zhenghua in Shanghai (China Daily)

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Doctors have called for a blacklist system for unqualified medical workers and life bans on practicing medicine on anyone who has seriously violated medical ethics.

The proposals, raised by the Chinese Medical Doctor Association - a national not-for-profit association representing the 2.1 million practicing physicians in China - come after the industry and some of its members were tarnished by recent incidences of baby trafficking and receiving bribes from foreign pharmaceutical companies.

The association made the suggestion after medical workers from a hospital in Fuping county, Shaanxi province, were reported earlier this month as deceiving parents that their newborn babies had lethal ailments, then selling them, the Beijing-headquartered association said on Sunday.

The suggestions will be discussed by the association before being presented for approval to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

No timeline has been set, the association added.

The association has launched assessments of licensed doctors as required by law and is considering exposing those who fail the examination and publicizing the reasons for their failure.

The law, enacted on May 1, 1999, requires that medical workers be assessed every two years and organizations commissioned by health departments at county-level or above can examine doctors' capabilities, achievements and medical ethnics.

However, the law has been poorly implemented, with some areas not making assessments or not publishing their results, Deng Liqiang, head of the association's legal affairs department, told the Beijing Times in an interview published on Sunday.

Two months ago, the association accepted an appointment from the National Health and Family Planning Commission to standardize regional governments' assessments of doctors and publicize the results, he said.

The association plans to proceed from those assessments of doctors' medical ethnics to set up a blacklist of those violating basic principles, he said. Once a medical worker is added to the list, the association will advise all medical institutions not to employ them.

The blacklist is separate from the proposed life ban on practicing medicine, said Deng.

According to the law, health departments at county level or above can suspend doctors' qualifications for three to six months, and require them to undertake reeducation and training.

"It's like an unqualified driver can have his license revoked. After retraining, failed doctors can take part in the examination and engage in the medical industry again," he told the Beijing Times.

The official said the proposal to set up a blacklist and publicizing how unqualified workers failed their examinations has met opposition from doctors and hospitals, citing too negative an influence on a doctors' reputations and careers.

But the system and such openness can benefit the public, he added, and the association plans to seek approval for it from the health commission.

The association, the largest and most influential medical group in China that manages 26 local associations, 39 specialty sub-associations, five specialty committees and 18 medical publications, called for a clause to be added to the law to ban unethical doctors from engaging in the profession for life, Deng said.

Being unethical is defined as a doctor who accepts bribes from companies, takes advantage of their position to seek or accept cash and gifts from patients, or seeks other improper gains, Deng said.

In the latest scandal exposed last week, 503 doctors at 79 hospitals in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Guangzhou allegedly accepted a total of 1.69 million yuan ($276,000) in bribes from French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis around November 2007.