China has announced that it would soon begin to maintain ethics records on its medical staff, numbering around 5.27 million. The idea is to crack down on all kinds of malpractice in hospitals.
The ethics record would be used to evaluate medical staff performance and was linked to promotion and salaries, according to the Chinese Ministry of Health.
No timetable was given on when the records would be implemented.
The record would be based on self evaluation, department evaluation and hospital evaluation. The evaluations were required to be renewed annually.
The record would have four grades: excellent, good, ordinary and bad, the notice said.
Medical staff would have "bad" records if they were found asking patients for "red envelopes" or "gifts"; accepting bribes or commissions from pharmacies or medical equipment manufacturers; overcharging patients and fabricating medical documents.
The records would be made public in the hospital and those with bad records would also be punished according to laws and regulations, the notice said.
It also required medical staff to respect patient rights, treat patients without discrimination and improve medical services for patients so as to build a harmonious relations between medical staff and patients.
Expensive medical care has become one of the biggest burdens for common Chinese and conflicts between patients and hospitals frequently occur, noted the Xinhua news agency, but claimed that the country had tightened its fight against corruption in the medical sector following a greater number of patient complaints in recent years.
Last year, the Ministry of Health fired the president of Harbin No. 2 Medical University Hospital in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province after an over-billing scandal that saw a dieing man's family charged more than one million yuan (135,703 U.S. dollars) for treatment he didn't need.
In 2006, government figures revealed authorities investigated 2,755 commercial bribery cases in the health sector, involving more than 100 million yuan. The cases investigated involved the purchase and distribution of drugs and medical equipment and medical services.