Two Child Policy Further Aggravate Shortage of Pediatricians
The introduction of the two child policy has caused worry among parents that the change will further aggravate the current shortage of pediatricians in China. The number of pediatricians dropped from 105,000 to 100,000 in just five years bring an average of 43 doctors per 100,000 children. And according to China’s public health the situation is even worse in smaller cities and countries such as Weinan city where there’s 17 doctors to look after 100,000 children. Sun Yat—sen University No. 3 Hospital Lingnan branch had to post a notice in the emergency department that treatment services from the pediatric department is cancelled due to the lack of doctors.
Ever since the establishment of the pediatric department in 2011 there were eight doctors working and since then about four doctors have remained working at the department. Then in 2014 the number of patients in the hospital exceeded 63,000 which increased by 12 percent in 2015. The shortage in pediatricians gave parents a hard time, for example in Tangdu Hospital which is one of the best hospital in Xi’an in Shaanxi province, the waiting area in the pediatrics department is filled with hundred of parents and sick children waiting for the chance of a doctor to see them. Its department receives more than 500 patients daily with 36 doctors to look at them.
Statistics done by the health and family planning commission of Shaanxi shows that among the pediatricians, only less than a third are university graduates and one third are graduates from junior colleges. Low salary, high pressure with high risk are the main causes in which students are reluctant in becoming pediatricians. A doctor said that she treat patients two days per week, group consultation for two days plus ward visits everyday. Her working time everyday on average is more than ten hours and every four days works a 24 hour shift.
Conflicts are not rare as children are too young to give an exact description of their symptoms, but parents have high expectations from doctors. Pediatricians are also not paid well with them earning only 30 percent less than other departments since the department earns less income. Medicines and examinations are the primary source of income for a medical department and children are given less medicine than adults, plus a decrease of pediatrics graduates also fueled the shortage.