The Ministry of Health issued this Notice to regulate the behavior of medical personnel, including hospital management personnel, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, technicians and other staff. Although some portions of the code – such as the prohibition on accepting bribes – repeat the content of other regulations, much of the code is new. Moreover, this is the first time the Ministry of Health has gathered the various regulations on medical personnel’s conduct in one place. Some key portions of the code of conduct:  

  1. medical personnel are required to respect patient’s right to informed consent and to keep patient information confidential  
  2. medical personnel are prohibited from:  
  • discriminating against patients based on their race, religion, social class, disability,
  • disease or other reasons
  • exaggerating the seriousness of an illness or over-treating an illness
  • selling the numbered tickets used to register for medical treatment at hospitals
  • committing fraud against the national health insurance program
  • accepting kick-backs or commissions offered by producers and distributors of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and their agents in any form whatsoever, or attending commercial entertainment activities arranged, organized or paid by such producers or distributors, etc.  

The Notice applies the code of conduct to all practitioners, and also rural doctors, trainees, and outsourced service staff.  

The practitioners who violate the code will be subject to various sanctions, including disqualification and loss of accreditation, dismissal, administrative punishment imposed by health authorities, and even criminal liabilities depending on the seriousness of the case. When conducting annual review and grade assessment on the practitioners by the medical institution, compliance with the code will be viewed as a significant basis for the grading of medical institutions. Implementation of the notice and code will likely be phased in starting with certain medical institutions, and local health authorities will conduct corresponding supervision.