Saturday, 12 July 2014

The anti-corruption crackdown gets serious in Guangdong's health system, yields 7 million yuan

by Michael Woodhead  
The effects of Xi Jinping's anti-corruption crackdown are being seen in Guangdong's health system, with health department leaders using stern words and making grave threats against wrongdoers. A report in Guangming Daily says the crackdown on Hong Bao (red envelope bribes) and commissions has already uncovered 7 million yuan and exposed thousands of corrupt staff. The provincial health department head Chen Yuanshang has made dire threats of punishment to any health staff who continue to accept bribes or kickbacks for services. He told the newspaper that Discipline Inspection teams would be renewing their efforts to expose corruption in the health services and would be making unannounced visits to health institutions and looking into the books. He made a speech using all the most stern warnings typically used by officials such as "severe punishment without exceptions" for malpractice and unethical behaviour by public hospital staff. He also noted that many health managers and clinical staff were not taking the anti-corruption drive seriously and were only paying lip service to it. He singled out the relatives of high officials and doctors, saying they would not escape punishment if found to be involved in financial irregularities such as receiving bribes and commissions or overservicing. He reeled off some figures of corrupt practices exposed already including 1362 cases of kickbacks/commissions to the value of 3.4 million yuan involving 3142 individuals. There have also been 5248 cases of bribery (red envelopes) involving 3.74 million yuan. Chen vowed there would be 40 teams of 'secret shoppers' visiting hospitals and health departments to see if staff were still accepting bribes. He also expected all health units to organise their own inspections and to report back on the findings and the disciplinary action taken. He reminded health staff of the "Nine Forbiddens" - the nine kinds of corrupt and inappropriate behaviour (such as overservicing) that should be avoided by health service institutions.

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