Seven people including six nurses killed in latest attack on China's medical workers

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Seven people, including six nurses, were stabbed to death at a hospital dormitory in northern China on Thursday, the official Xinhua news agency reported, the latest in a string of attacks on medical workers.

A hospital administrator was among those killed and another nurse was seriously injured in the attack, Xinhua said.

The hospital is in Beidaihe, a seaside resort close to Beijing favoured by senior members of the ruling Communist Party.

A suspect has been detained, the Xinhua report said without providing further details.

A spate of attacks on doctors and nurses in the past two years has prompted the health ministry to provide better security at hospitals.

While the government has ramped up health spending, hospitals are frequently overwhelmed with patients. Doctors are also badly paid, leading to corruption and a suspicion that staff are more interested in making money by prescribing unnecessary drugs and treatment than tending the sick.

Many other Chinese are unable to afford health care despite government efforts to provide a basic safety net, which has also prompted attacks in the past.

Ministry data shows that violent attacks directed at doctors and other health care workers in the form of beatings, threats, kidnappings, verbal abuse and murder reached 17,243 cases in 2010, the latest year for which such figures are available.