Med­i­cal staff want to help, not cause prob­lems


Frank Mor­ris- Davies, 58, a Bri­tish physi­cian and part­ner in Sino United Health, a gen­eral clinic in Shang­hai that boasts an in­ter­na­tional med­i­cal team

Ithink China has ex­cel­lent doc­tors. Sadly, they just don’t have enough time to lis­ten to pa­tients be­cause there are huge lines of them wait­ing out­side.

On the other hand, it’s also dif­fi­cult from the pa­tients’ point of view, be­cause they don’t have enough time to get a de­tailed ex­pla­na­tion of their prob­lems from their doc­tor.

I feel sym­pa­thy for over­worked Chi­nese doc­tors. I was in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion when I had my own prac­tice in the United King­dom and saw 60 pa­tients a day. That’s too many pa­tients, and you can’t prac­tice good medicine.

I think the gov­ern­ment is do­ing a fan­tas­tic job of chang­ing the health ser­vice, such as build­ing more hos­pi­tals and set­ting up fam­ily medicine de­part­ments and hi­er­ar­chi­cal med­i­cal sys­tems. The gov­ern­ment knows the prob­lems, and is in the process of solv­ing them, but it will take time.

One so­lu­tion is to put fam­ily medicine de­part­ments next to emer­gency rooms and have a se­nior nurse screen the pa­tients when they ar­rive. Pa­tients should go to the ER if they re­ally need first aid, but they go to the fam­ily medicine in other cases be­cause the de­part­ment can solve most prob­lems. It’s away of pre­vent­ing wastage of valu­able med­i­cal re­sources. ER should be for peo­ple in the most crit­i­cal sit­u­a­tions.

The public should be ed­u­cated to re­spect clin­i­cians and all front­line staff, from re­cep­tion­ists to nurses to doc­tors, as pro­fes­sion­als. Front­line mem­bers of staff are not there to cause prob­lems— they are there to help.

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