Imbalance Grows at Chinese Hospitals
On an unseasonably cold afternoon in April, Da Yong, from Harbin, in the far north of China, stood for six hours in a biting wind outside the Peking University Medical College hospital, waiting with 15 other patients to get a number. He had been in Beijing for two weeks, he said, standing in lines to seek treatment for his wife’s facial boils.
“Sure, there are hospitals in Harbin,” he said, “but I wanted the best for my wife, so we came here. It’s like this at all the big hospitals. There’s no other way.”
Mr. Da’s stoic wait is both a cause and a side effect of China’s pyramidal health care system, which has many small hospitals at the bottom, fewer midsize hospitals in the middle and a small number of very large hospitals at the top.