Health­care will get a pri­vate boost

China Daily European Weekly - - China News -

com­pe­ti­tion.”

The meet­ing called for the es­tab­lish­ment of longterm, com­pre­hen­sive guide­lines to de­velop the health­care in­dus­try with a com­bi­na­tion of care for the el­derly, tourism, sports and the in­ter­net.

It also called for more sim­ple, stream­lined ap­proval pro­ce­dures and ad­min­is­tra­tion for so­cially in­vested health­care ser­vices as well as emerg­ing types of health­care in­sti­tu­tions. Per­son­nel train­ing in healtha­long care and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion will be fur­ther en­hanced, the meet­ing also de­cided, and pol­icy in­cen­tives will be given to in­ven­tions and re­search in­volv­ing in­no­va­tion of med­i­cal and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion equip­ment.

So­cial in­vest­ment in med­i­cal and health ser­vices has surged since 2013, with the bur­geon­ing de­mand that has come with the coun­try’s ag­ing pop­u­la­tion and im­prove­ments in stan­dards of liv­ing. Pri­vate med­i­cal and health­care in­sti­tu­tions now ac­count for 45 per­cent of over­all health­care or­ga­ni­za­tions across the coun­try, it was dis­closed at the meet­ing, and the past sev­eral years have seen rapid de­vel­op­ment in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices as well as health­care through tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine.

In 2016, health ex­penses in China to­taled 4.63 tril­lion yuan ($708 bil­lion; 595 bil­lion eu­ros; £548 bil­lion), ac­count­ing for 6.2 per­cent of GDP, a num­ber still much lower than that of de­vel­oped coun­tries.

The meet­ing also called for tax in­cen­tives for med­i­cal and health­care in­dus­tries.

Fig­ures from the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion show that by April, China had more than 444,000 pri­vately in­vested med­i­cal and health­care in­sti­tu­tions, and the num­ber has dou­bled since 2011.

Xu Wei­jun, who runs a pri­vate nurs­ing home for the el­derly in South China’s Guang­dong prov­ince, feels greatly en­cour­aged by the new pol­icy and wants to ex­pand his busi­ness.

“China will def­i­nitely have a large de­mand in pri­vate health­care ser­vices, since the coun­try’s ag­ing pop­u­la­tion is in­creas­ing and peo­ple’s tra­di­tional ideas about the el­derly are also chang­ing,” he says. “The key is more pol­icy in­cen­tives for pri­vate in­vestors and fewer ad­min­is­tra­tive hur­dles.

Hav­ing worked in the pri­vate health­care sec­tor for more than a decade, Xu points out some prob­lems fac­ing the in­dus­try. For ex­am­ple, most nurs­ing homes are re­quired to have their own med­i­cal clinic, but these clin­ics only pro­vide treat­ment to the nurs­ing homes’ res­i­dents and do not treat pa­tients from nearby com­mu­ni­ties.

“For the clin­ics within nurs­ing homes, they should also be open to peo­ple out­side the nurs­ing homes, be­cause this way they will im­prove their med­i­cal tech­niques and ser­vices,” Xu says. “Also, when a clinic helps lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, it will at­tract well-de­vel­oped gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers.”

State Coun­cil OKs mea­sures to im­prove ser­vices and ex­pand nurs­ing home choices

SHI YU / CHINA DAILY

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