Medical: Of Bureaucracy and Professionalism

By Lu


This week, I went to a private hospital to perform my medical check up. It got me to wonder, should this country encourage more private hospitals or build more state operated ones.

I went to a government hospital for my medical check-up last year. I was able to compare differences between these two type of hospitals. In the state owned  hospital, services are much slower and there are no interpersonal touch involved. Here, I had to do everything myself. Going from room to room to get different tests done. Everything is paperwork and the bureaucracy is deep within the institution.

Whereas, in the private hospital, the services are top notch. I am ‘processed’ within half an hour of signing up for the medical check-up. Everything is efficient and there is a nurse to help us around. Still, I need to travel around the place into different rooms. Paperwork is almost all eliminated because the hospital officials recorded it down without even going through me.

It seems privatization really does promote efficiency. By privatizing, the hospital has to compete with other of its same kind, thus providing incentives to have a better service. The state own hospital can always rely on its steady stream of patients and thus, do not really need to provide service with a smile. After all, the doctors and nurses’ paychecks are guaranteed from the government whereas in in private hospitals, the doctors and nurses’ depend on their services to attract customers. Their paycheck depends on the hospitals business. No patients means no income. It is that simple.

Plus, private hospitals need to match up with a very powerful weapon of the state owned hospitals – subsidized medical fee. I could have faint when I received the bill because it cost so much for just one medical check-up. There are no competitors nearby to compete with to provide incentives to lower the fee of the medical bills. In a clash between social welfare and social efficiency, perhaps it is only fair that there are two type of hospitals on the board, one to cater for services and efficiency while the other for welfare so that all can enjoy basic health services.

Still, I had something I dislike about private hospitals, it is their sense of professionalism. In the medical report, I was suppose to have an x-ray of my chest to look into my lungs condition. I tried to bargain my way out of it but the doctor insist on maintaining the hospital’s integrity. So, I had to do it anyway. What happened to the customer is always right?

To the Minister of Health, if you are reading this, consider this few words of mine. I would like to request exemption from all x-rays report in future medical check-up because  I believe that any disease one may found from my x-ray is not justifiable to any of the diseases which the x-ray will cause on me. Notice the  “may” and “will” in that sentence.