Although a new Ministry of Health law will permit doctors to register at multiple hospitals, the policy’s benefit to China’s “overloaded and underpaid” doctors is nevertheless limited:
Some specialist physicians have clearly stated that they won’t opt to practice in multiple locations because they are simply overworked. Many doctors are currently working at full capacity. In the city of Beijing, China’s medical center, doctors are particularly overworked. From November 15, 2010, the Beijing municipal government has pushed for citywide weekend outpatient services, which has alleviated wait times for patients – but created a strain on the schedules of doctors.
Zhao Ping, president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said that the work efficiency of Chinese doctors is high enough. “There are on average 1.4 doctors to a bed, which is probably the lowest in the world,” Zhao said. “If doctors are unwilling to work multiple jobs, if there is money to be made that they don’t want to make it, then that is only because they’re too exhausted.”
But Yin Jia, director of Beijing Union Medical College Hospital’s allergy department, said that the new multiple-job policy encourages doctors to crossover to county-level hospitals or community clinics. The policy won’t be attractive to the country’s top doctors, especially because there isn’t a different in compensation. “Registration fees and treatment costs are basically the same as at Beijing Union. When they are already overworked, these doctors won’t be motivated to travel for the same pay.”