By Tom Bannister
A netizen has sparked an investigation into the use of a Beijing ambulance to ferry medical professionals to and from a nearby restaurant.
On Friday 28th December Weibo user @BG2RHY was walking along Haidian Dong San Jie (海淀东三街) when he saw an ambulance dispense a number of medical professionals into a restaurant. It was 6pm, very cold, and the ambulance was from Haidian hospital. The ambulance picked up more hospital staff, many wearing their white medical coats, and headed back to the hospital, taking the shortest route: against the traffic with its red emergency lights flashing.
The incident has understandably outraged people, many of whom will have witnessed recent debates about the importance of letting ambulances through busy traffic.
When the Beijing News reported the incident yesterday they spoke to the Dong San Jie restaurant owners who said that hospital staff often ate there at around 6pm. They also spoke to officials from Haidian hospital who said that they would look into the matter. One official said:
“If, after they had eaten dinner, the doctors and nurses suddenly had to go to an emergency, then the red light and going against the traffic would be permitted. However if there was no emergency and they were just in the process of going back then it is absolutely not permitted…..ambulances are not ‘privilege cars’ and if it was a private use that broke regulations we shall launch an investigation.”