Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Eastern medicine

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 10:31 authored by Sam Hsien Sing Hsieh

The First People’s Hospital of Foshan in Guandong Province was the site of my overseas clinical attachment during the summer of 2007. Guangdong is the most populous province in China, with a population of more than 110 million people. My first and lasting impression was of the congested traffic through the hospital. There were extensive queues, people sleeping on chairs and on the floor, and stretchers and beds parked along hallways. Beyond the official 1,300 beds in the hospital, there were at least another 800 in corridors and in corners. Even with six elevators, people were inevitably pressed against the rear panel every day. Passengers packed elevators until the maximum weight alarm sounded. The disparities that distinguish the hospital system in China from those in the West fundamentally stem from the sheer number of patients – the outpatient clinic may treat up to 9,000 patients a day. On average, a doctor sees 100-120 patients daily, and each patient is allotted three to five minutes for consultation, diagnosis, and prescription. It is, therefore, not uncommon for doctors to utilise closed-ended questions and occasionally complete patient inputs in the interest of maintaining the patient flow.



The original article is available at Part of the RCSIsmj collection 2007-8

Published Citation

Hsieh SHS. Eastern medicine. RCSIsmj. 2008;1(1):80

Publication Date



  • Undergraduate Research


  • Published Version (Version of Record)