Eight children’s hospitals are soon to open, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday, adding that it expects the new pediatric services to improve the quality of children’s healthcare.
The department also said it plans to build an emergency medical service network around the nation to ensure that medical care is available for everybody.
Given the low fertility rate, the establishment of the children’s hospitals can concentrate pediatric medical resources and improve pediatric training, Department of Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) said yesterday.
“In the United States, there are over 250 children’s hospitals, with at least one in every major city. Japan has more than 500 and China 60. The experience in the US shows that the performance of freestanding children’s hospitals is much better than that of pediatrics departments in general hospitals. The 10 best pediatric healthcare providers in the US are children’s hospitals. Following this trend, the department listed establishing children’s hospitals as one of our main policy goals,” Chiu said.
The health authority has promulgated revised criteria for the establishment of medical facilities for children and issued notices on the evaluation criteria.
The criteria require children’s hospitals to have 150 beds in total, four or more divisions including pediatrics, surgery, aesthetics and radiology, and a stand-alone building or an independent exit if located within a general hospital.
The evaluation criteria for children’s hospitals would be based on the existing evaluation criteria for general hospitals.
However, the soon-to-open children’s hospitals are hoping for further financial aid from the government.
National Taiwan University Hospital is one of eight facilities that intends to open a standardized children’s hospital before the end of July.
“Pediatrics is not a money-making business. Now the pediatricians hardly stay in the hospitals; setting up their own private clinics is much more lucrative. Depending on the existing health insurance system is not enough for the operation of freestanding children’s hospitals,” National Taiwan University Hospital deputy superintendent Huang Shih-chieh (黃世傑) said.
Huang’s concern was echoed by China Medical University Children’s Hospital vice superintendent Su Bai-Horng (蘇百弘), who called for more financial support for pediatrics from the National Health Insurance system.
“Child patients require more attention and have special needs. Take simple injections as an example. It might take several failed ones to finally complete a successful injection when it comes to child patients,” Su said.
Meanwhile, Chiu said the department was in the process of establishing an emergency medical services network.
“The department has adopted a dual-track measure to facilitate the establishment of cross-county networks and district networks,” Chiu said.