China has only one-third of the anesthesiologists it needs, with low salaries, heavy workloads and poor training contributing to the shortfall, Shanghai Daily reported Thursday.
International standards call for 2.4 anaesthesiologists for each 10,000 people in developed nations but there are fewer than 100,000 in China, a country that needs 300,000, the report said.
Anesthesiologist Yu Weifeng, from the Chinese Medical Doctors Association, said eight of the specialists died from overwork last year.
Association director Zhang Yanling said the lack of specialists in the field not only limits medical development but also has a negative effect on patient health and safety.
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