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Executive Yuan censured for exodus of doctors

2012/07/17 22:27:42

Taipei, July 17 (CNA) Taiwan's highest government watchdog censured the Executive Yuan Tuesday for failing to create an attractive environment for medical staff 17 years after introducing the national health insurance system.

The Control Yuan said this failure has resulted in a shortage of doctors in major disciplines.

Medical disputes that favor the accuser and the reimbursement system under the national health program have resulted in an exodus of internists, surgeons, gynecologists, pediatricians and emergency room doctors, said Control Yuan members Huang Huang-hsiung and Shen Mei-chen, who raised the censure proposal.

There is an inadequate number of residents in all four major disciplines -- internal medicine, surgery, gynecology and pediatrics -- at most hospitals, meaning that some of them have to work over 300 hours per month, Huang and Shen said.

At some other hospitals, resident doctors are completely lacking and doctors in the four disciplines have to fill in for one another or be readily available when called upon, resulting in their monthly working hours sometimes adding up to 400 hours, they said.

Compared with cosmetic surgeons, practitioners in the four main disciplines are burdened with heavier workloads for less pay, and are more susceptible to lawsuits.

Circumstances are not better for emergency room doctors, Huang and Shen said, adding that the authorities at major hospitals, including National Taiwan University Hospital and hospitals under the Chang Gung system, have difficulty recruiting them. Some hospitals, they noted, have none at all.

Coupled with an unreasonable hospital evaluation system, Taiwan's medical environment has seriously deteriorated, making it the scourge of the national health insurance system, they said.

The proposal to censure the Executive Yuan was designed to awaken the government to the country's flawed medical environment and to prompt it to address the issue properly, they said.

(By Sophia Yeh and Scully Hsiao)