Monday, 11 August 2014

Beijing hospitals abolish 'Quick Clinics" in favour of GPs

by Michael Woodhead

Beijing hospitals have angered many patients by abolishing the so called "Convenience Clinics" that provide prescriptions for outpatients.
A legacy of the early 1980s reforms, the Outpatient Prescription clinics have been cancelled because they represent a poor model of care, according to health authorities. Without a proper diagnosis or review, the clinics are little more than glorified drug dealers, say doctors.

Notices went up to say that the Convenience Clinics will be abolished from September 1, with the main reason being that they are at odds with rational use of medicine and pose a risk of medication-related problems, especially for children. Health authorities said drug prescribing had changed enormously since the 1980s, and it was no longer appropriate to offer prescriptions without a review. Prescriptions might now involved multiple drugs and more complex drug treatments with narrow margins of safety, prescribed by different specialists. It was therefore a hazard to have them re-issued without a check on the patient's condition.

If patients with chronic diseases such as hypertension want a simple repeat of their prescription they should make an appointment with the new "general practitioners" rather than waiting a long time to see a specialist. The doctor can then review their condition to see if it has changed and to tailor therapy according to response. There were also cases where the patient did not even attend the "Convenience Clinic", but sent a family member instead. According to the Beijing Daily, hospitals said they wanted their specialist clinics to be reserved for more severe disease, with simpler ailments and repeat prescriptions handled by general practitioners.

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