Tensions between medical professionals and patients in mainland China

Camb Q Healthc Ethics. 2011 Jul;20(3):458-65. doi: 10.1017/S0963180111000144.


In China, state investment into public hospitals has radically decreased since the early 1980s and has brought on the dismantling of the healthcare system in most parts of the country, especially in rural areas. As a result of this overhaul, the majority of public hospitals have needed to compete in the so-called socialist market economy. The market economy stimulated public hospitals to modernize, take on highly qualified medical professionals, and dispense new therapies and drugs. At same time, liberalization has clearly affected the attitude and behavior of both medical professionals and the general public. The public has many concerns about the healthcare system for various reasons: there are long hospital waiting lists, patients experience difficulties in obtaining an appointment to see a qualified doctor, and, over the past decades, there has been an increase in out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure. These and other changes in post-reform China have radically reshaped the doctor–patient interaction, which is increasingly eroded by tension and violence.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • China / epidemiology
  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospitals, General
  • Humans
  • Patients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trust*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*