Healthcare will get a private boost
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