Family doctor’s quality service matters
will be covered by family doctor service at the end of this year. All local households will enjoy the service as of 2020, according to the Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission. Yanzhao Metropolis Daily commented on Tuesday:
It is good that Chinese communities can expect more general practitioners, who do not specialize in any particular area of medicine but who are able to treat the general health problems for people of all ages. By the end of last year over 7.7 million residents in Beijing had reportedly signed up for family doctor services, accounting for more than 35 percent of the city’s permanent population.
Since 2009 China has launched scores of programs nationwide to ensure citizens have fairer access to elementary public health services, among which the introduction of family doctors has been one of the most successful. Some 26 provincial-level regions have issued guidelines on the promotion of the family doctor service. And four months ago, Premier Li Keqiang said in this year’s Government Work Report
that the service should cover at least 85 percent of the Chinese cities this year.
The expanding coverage, however, may not guarantee more residents will be offered quality medical services.
Family doctors in some places rarely visit the families they are assigned to, and some of them have been struggling to solve patients’ problems either because of their incompetence or because they have too many households to attend to. In some cases, a family doctor might be assigned to see hundreds of residents a day.
That highlights the need to optimize the allocation of medical resources and to offer proper incentives to family doctors, who should get patients to make appointments rather than employing makeshift arrangements.