Illegal Chinese "doctors" wearing smocks at the Hiep Hoa Clinic in Ho Chi Minh City
Unlicensed Chinese doctors have developed new ploys to avoid detection since health officials launched a major inspection into Chinese clinics in Ho Chi Minh City last year, the city chief health inspector Bui Minh Trang told Thanh Nien.
"Medical clinics with foreign factors [those that either employ foreign doctors or are owned by foreigners], especially Chinese ones, have localized themselves by hiring a Vietnamese to register them," Trang said.
"It's like they fell into a blind spot after appearing in our vision," he said.
Trang said health inspectors have tracked down unlicensed doctors via advertisements and other information found on the Internet.
So far this year, health officials have only inspected three clinics, of which two were found employing unregistered foreign doctors.
"One of them was a clinic on Cach Mang Thang Tam Street. I watched its advertisement on the Internet with a foreign doctor in a picture and instructed an inspection," Trang said.
He said district-level health agencies will be held responsible for their inability to manage the issue within their localities.
So far this year, only three Chinese doctors applied for licenses to work in HCMC and the city health department has yet to approve any of them.
"All Chinese doctors operating in the city with a license granted by the Health Ministry but who have not registered at the city Health Department are [operating] illegally," he stressed.
On May 9, health inspectors and police in Ho Chi Minh City caught a private clinic employing seven Chinese medical workers without a license.
During the raid on Hiep Hoa General Clinic on Truong Son Street in Tan Binh District, which is owned by the Hiep Hoa Healthcare One-Member Company Limited, inspectors found Chinese nationals wearing doctors' smocks and examining patients.
There were no interpreters present and only one of the eight Chinese doctors and health workers had a practitioner's license.
Moreover, the clinic was caught offering unlicensed services to patients, such as the surgical removal of hemorrhoids and circumcisions.
The inspectors ordered that the clinic shut down pending further examinations by relevant agencies.
Last July, health officials carried out inspections at seven Chinese clinics and found that three of these facilities advertised that they employed a total of 11 Chinese "doctors" who all turned out to be unlicensed.
Also in July 2012, the HCMC Health Department revoked the business licenses of five other Chinese clinics for violating examination and treatment regulations, such as offering unlicensed services, employing unlicensed doctors and selling unapproved medicines.