Qiu Ping sank into the soft couch, sipped her coffee and turned another page of the English-language edition of Vogue as she waited to see a doctor at Beijing United Family Hospital. 'I have been waiting for almost half an hour,' she said. 'It usually takes around 10 minutes because I only come to see the doctor by appointment. 'I chose this hospital because the service is the best in the city, and of course, the price is the highest,' the housewife said, before being distracted by the arrival of her doctor. She dropped the magazine and followed him into a consultation room. A mainlander who lived in Germany for several years, Ms Qiu is among just a few Chinese nationals who use the hospital, one of five joint ventures the American Chindex International company has set up with local partners. Most of the hospital's 53 doctors are bilingual, and each day they see about 300 outpatients, 80 per cent of whom are overseas citizens. The exception is the gynaecology and obstetrics department, where about half the patients are mainlanders, according to hospital spokeswoman Lily Sun. 'It costs about 60,000 yuan for a natural birth, which is many times the cost at domestic hospitals,' Ms Sun said. 'But the rising middle-class often spend lavishly on the only child they will have - it is a cultural characteristic.' A half-hour later, Ms Qiu reappears from her consultation, uses her insurance card to settle the bill and goes downstairs to collect her prescription. 'One of the reasons I do not go to domestic hospitals is because doctors there are often bad-tempered. They dismiss a patient in no more than five minutes,' Ms Qiu said. 'It is not the fault of the doctors. After all, who would give people a great deal of attention if there are still dozens of patients waiting and you are in a hurry for lunch?' While she appreciates the pressures on the medical system, Ms Qiu said she had not been able to stomach mainland public hospitals since returning from Germany. 'They are totally chaotic, smelly and packed. I am afraid of getting infected with other diseases if I see a doctor who has many patients a day,' she said. Ms Qiu turns her attention to the pharmacist, who patiently explains the dosage and other details of her prescription - instead of throwing her medicines into a plastic bag and sending her on her way, as is the practice at state hospitals.