Healthcare investigated for corruption, from China to the UK

Patient wellbeing is at the core of the healthcare sector, yet corruption & cover-ups exist. From China to the UK, action is being taken to combat this

The healthcare sector exists to protect patients, but sometimes greed and pride from senior staff can take precedence. Post-COVID-19, the global healthcare sector is changing the way it protects patients and supports staff. From China to the UK, hospitals are no safe haven for the corrupt.


China offers safe route for doctors who previously accepted brides

In China, an anti-corruption campaign has targeted 180 hospital leaders. Hotlines have been set up for healthcare workers to report corruption, with the city of Shanghai offering financial rewards for successful reports of lawbreaking. The Beijing Municipal Health Commission has also opened an ‘integrity account’ for doctors, where they can return bribes and apologise, with no further action taken.

The Chinese healthcare sector has faced calls for change in its management since the outbreak of COVID-19 in late 2019, particularly in the treatment of Dr Li Wenliang, an eye doctor at a Wuhan hospital. Dr Li warned fellow doctors about the virus, leading to local police to reprimand him for "making false comments" and "spreading rumours". He died after contracting COVID-19 himself and fury on Chinese social media led to the Chinese government backtracking and exonerating Dr Li. Tributes are paid to Dr Li on the anniversary of his death, 7th February.

Now, the Chinese healthcare industry is changing - but it's not the only country dealing with patient safety challenges in hospitals. 

NHS corruption & coverups 

Following the trial of serial killer Lucy Letby, the NHS has been reviewing its whistleblowing systems. As Chancelle Blakey, Business Development Manager at Safecall previously discussed with Healthcare Digital, the NHS needs an independent reporting line for employees across the organisation to confidently report failures. 

Nurse Lucy Letby has been found guilty of murdering seven babies at the neonatal unit she worked in at the Countess of Chester Hospital. Several of Letby’s colleagues reported concerns about her behaviour, but hospital bosses refused to investigate, tried to silence doctors and delayed calling the police, putting fears of reputational damage above patient safety. Consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram claimed that ‘babies could have been saved’ if senior staff had acted faster. The UK’s Department of Health will review how healthcare workers' concerns are handled, to better safeguard patients and install confidence in staff who want to report concerns.  


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