Friday, 14 February 2014

"Fake" GPs in Shanghai | 5-in-1 vaccine shortage | Appointments by WeChat: China medical news for Friday 14 February

Shanghai appears to lead China in the introduction of family doctors, but many of the so-called general practitioners (GPs) are fake, says Zhu Shanzhu, the chairman of the Society of General Practice, Chinese Medical Association. In an article in Global Times, Dr Zhu says that Shanghai is on target to have a GP for every resident by 2020, when people will be able to register with a family doctor working out of their local community health centre. However, Dr Zhu says many of the family doctors assigned to the health centres are not true GPs because they are specialists such as surgeons. Shanghai must therefore commit to training doctors in family medicine, she said.

A second death has been reported from the novel influenza strain H10N8 in Jiangxi. According to Shanghai Daily, a 75-year-old man died in Nanchang. Health authorities have urged the public to stay away from live poultry.

Shortages of the popular paediatric 5-in-1 combination vaccine have been reported due to transport congestion and delays ove the Chinese New Year. The imported vaccine, made by Sanofi, immunises against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Haemophilus influenza Type B and costs around 600 yuan for each of the four doses. Parents prefer it over free domestic vaccines because it reduces the number of needles their child has from 12 to four.

Hospitals in Beijing are offering appointments and medical results via WeChat, ECNS reports. The social media service is being offered by 21 municipal hospitals to patients who sign up and obtain a password.

A Shaanxi woman claims one of her kidneys was secretly removed during an operation she had more than 20 years ago. The woman made the shock discovery that she was missing a kidney when she had a hospital scan for back pain. The only possible explanation was that it must have been removed when she had an operation on her ovaries 26 years previously, she told TV reporters. The woman returned to the hospital where she had the operation but they rejected her claims and denied all responsibility for the incident.

A hospital in Hainan is pioneering a new model of "treat first, pay later" care. The hospital in Haikou has dropped the usual registration system in which patients pay a deposit ahead of treatment. the hospital managers say the new system is more convenient, but relies of the trust of patients to pay for their treatment afterwards. Non-payers will be put on a black list and refused further treatment, they said.

A Beijing academic has called on the government to stop the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing of "low tar, less harmful" cigarettes. Professor Yang Gonghuan of the Department of Epidemiology and Statistics, Institute of Basic Medical Science, Chinese Academy of Medical Science, says the claim that low tar cigarettes are less harmful is incorrect. However the slogan is used by industry to encourage smokers to stay with the habit. Writing in Tobacco Control, he urges the government to "stop the execution of this deceptive strategy for tobacco marketing".

And a kidney specialist in Guangzhou has been praised in the Chinese media for continuing to work despite being confined to a wheelchair. Reports say Dr Ke continued seeing 20 patients a day at the PLA 458 Hospital over the Chinese New Year despite having broken her patella and being unable to walk. Patients praised the doctor but she said any of her colleagues would have done the same thing.

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