Thursday, 27 March 2014
Chinese hospitals offer millions to poach doctors from Taiwan
The Focus Taiwan news channel makes the claim that doctors are being offered as much as 100 million yuan to relocate to the mainland, and there are already 50-60 "holiday knife jugglers" flying from Taiwan to China at weekends to perform surgery or give consultations at hospitals there.
Cardiac transplant surgeon Dr Wei Jeng (left), who is head of the Heart Center at Cheng Hsin General Hospital in Taipei said several Chinese hospitals had made him high-paying job offers in recent times but he had turned them all down.
However, he said many of his colleagues had taken up the offers of mainland work and the current joke among local physicians that "if you try calling on doctor friends on the weekends, you'll find they are all on the mainland."
While the 100 million yuan claim may be hype, the reality is that doctors in Taiwan earn about NT$8,000 per clinic but can make up to NT$50,000 per clinic in China. And many are doing so. A doctor who used to be a senior manager at a Taiwanese-funded hospital in China said he knew of many Taiwanese doctors earning hundreds of thousands of Taiwan dollars a month by doing weekend moonlighting shifts in China. This has lead to fears of a medical brain drain. Dr Wei said the lucrative offers from China were taken up because the Taiwan national health insurance system paid doctors relatively poorly.
A spokesman for the health ministry acknowledged that 90% of doctors in Taiwan earned their main income from the national insurance scheme and it would be impossible for the health ministry to match the huge pay offers made by Chinese hospitals to Taiwanese medical professionals.
To try retain doctors, the the Taiwan government was planning to set up special medical tourism zones to attract private paying patients from overseas, he said.
Local doctors urged the Taiwan government to make the medical system more attractive to doctors by cutting down on paperwork and improving benefits.