China’s Social Resources

This morning, I took one morning leave to go to hospital to inject the immune for my son. He is one month old now – exactly one month. Due to Chinese tradition, people often celebrate the date with a ceremony similar to the wedding ceremony – after one month, the month, and the children (and the father, of cause) should already recovered from the initial “disorder” to the normal life. This seems to be good timing. We didn’t do it. We went to hospital this morning. The second round of immune injection started from today.

To my surprise, it took us almost the whole morning to wait in the long line of crying babies. We left around 11:00 AM after the injection, and was not patient enough to wait in the long line to get the Vitamin B the doctor prescribed. If I should have waited, I guess I needed 40 minutes.

This reminded me the talk I had with Jim the other day. He said: “Before you have a baby, or you get sick, you may not understand how limited the social resource in this country is”.

This is true. Before, if there is only Wendy and I, there are not too much we need. Just go to restaurants, and we went to movies – there are plenty of them both in Shanghai.

However, when we have a baby, we suddenly found there are just so few hospitals, so few doctors, and so long you have to wait. Later, I believe we will continuously find out the educational system, the other medical care, the sport facility for children — it is still very rare resources – far from enough.

I am also aware that I am in Shanghai – the city in China with relatively better social security, and insurance system. If I feel the lack of resources (indicated by long waiting time), it must be so in other places.

I have to admit, that I only see part of China (before and now, and in the future). I just found out this with the arrival of my son.

15 thoughts on “China’s Social Resources

  1. Micah Sittig

    We’re lucky, our neighborhood hospital 花木医院 is small but still does immunizations. We went this morning for our 60-day shots and waited only 20 minutes.

    Yes, shots are free for both Shanghai residents and non-residents.

  2. ILH

    The Little YiFan will have many more shots ahead of him, many more long-line to wait.

    I guess hospitals/Doctors in China do not take appointments, do they?

  3. Ben

    Everyone says it’s pretty bad. My cousin in 上海 decided to raise her newborn daughter in Singapore because of that.

  4. xge

    I just took my niece( 8 month old and from Shanxi) for a shot last month. I was actually surprised that it is free of charge and they have no problem taking her. The doctor built an record for her on the spot to track which shot was already given, and what is next. Although it took three of us( it definitely takes two person at least, one to carry the baby and another one to stand in line) the whole morning to take one shot, I was actually happy about the process. Maybe my expectation was too low. It proves that the government is not totally doing nonsense, it is till functioning and doing what it should do.

    And it is considerably better comparing to the service in Shanxi. The last time she took the shot in Shanxi, the doctor didn’t even bother to sterilize her skin. When later my niece got an infection and my sister complained, the doctor said “Oh, every baby I gave shot to has it, it is completely normal.”

  5. DC

    my experience in Shanghai hospital. It is a “money oriented” public services. Pay before being treated. Here is a procedure when you’re have a cough and flu. And you visited the doctor.

    1. Pay to register as visiting patient — queue

    2. Pay before you go for your blood test— queue

    3. Take your blood test — wait for results

    4. Pay before you see the doctor face-to-face — queue to see doctor

    5. See doctor

    6. Pay to get your medication prescribed by doctor

    7. Collect medication.

    Why can’t just simplify the process and make payment only ONCE? Can you imagine a person who are sick have to run up and down, left and right around the hospital to make payment and seek for treatment… gosh… it is so tiring… especially when you’re sick.

  6. XYZ

    Hi Jianshuo,

    is there any private hospital that you can go to so you don’t have to spend your whole morning waiting in a line? Usually with private hospital, you have to pay for the shot but then again your time is worth much more isn’t it?

  7. ddjiii

    We have had the same experience as Micah, and our baby is now almost five months so we’ve done it four times. We go to the local public clinic, we don’t wait long – 10 or 15 minutes – we pay 20 – 30 yuan (for what exactly, I’m not sure) and that’s it. It’s quite good.

    The clinic only does immunizations and a few other children’s health-related functions and it’s tiny (the second floor of a lane house, it can’t be more than 50 m2) but it serves quite a small neighborhood, so there’s not much of a wait.

  8. twang

    I agree with DC. The hospitals here waste too much of the patients’ time by having them pay too many times. Why can’t they just let the patients pay at the end of the visit. I did ask an employee at a hospital this question. The answer I got shocked me. She said if they don’t charge patients ahead of each service, some patients would leave(flee) without paying.

    The good thing though is that quite a few hospitals have the so-called VIP quarter, in which there are few patients in line. I used to go to Dongfang Hospital in Lujiazui in Pudong. I used its VIP service. The registration fee was 100 Yuan, which you pay at the VIP ward. Then a nurse accompanies you to the doctor in the regular ward. You pretty much see the doctor as the next patient. The nurse then take you to the drug store to get your medicines. So the money you paid is like buying priority priviledge, which means saving time. I think the 100Yuan paid is worth it for the time saved However, my impression was that the doctor seemed to prescribed me too many kinds of medicine. Some of which were entirely unncessary. I paid for 4 kinds of “medicines”, but I found out one of them was just drink mix, which was sweet and minty.

    Some other private clinics for foreigners take advantages of the patients’ health insurance coverage, and overcharge the patients arms and legs. So watch out for these unethical clinics or doctors.

  9. DC

    twang… yes there are some unethical clinics and doctors. I had a colleague who are foreigner was over charge like crazy. The hospitalized him with the reason that he has to under observation. It ended he was hospitalized for a week for nothing. Just stay there and take a couple of blood test… and that’s it… guess how much is the bill… he was slapped with rmb25,000 for that and discharge him without any medication, nor reports of what he was hospitalized for that 7 days.

    poor him…

  10. RovingDigital

    thnx jin. I hope to get over there next year.

    bye the way your link to you site did not work and I noticed my did no .

    so i hope his one does im on face book as rovingdigital

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