Doctors to take care of the grassroots

Updated: 2011-12-15 07:46

By Wang Hongyi (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - The city will carry out a pilot project that allows doctors to work in different practices, a move that will encourage the flow of quality medical resources in all types of medical institutions.

The policy will allow experts and doctors from first-tier hospitals and other top medical institutions to work at community hospitals and private clinics, letting the quality medical resources flow to more grassroots hospitals, officials said.

"This can bring more convenience to patients by making it easier for them to seek treatment," said Lu Taohong, an official from the Shanghai health bureau.

"Also, it solves the difficulties of getting medical service in large hospitals."

So far, the city has more than 50,000 registered doctors.

Among them, less than 8,000 have a high professional title. This means there is huge pressure to meet the medical demands of the city's 23 million people.

Changning district's community health service center once explored ways to invite doctors from higher level hospitals to provide part-time treatment at local communities, but made little headway due to a lack of policy support.

"The new policy encouraging doctors to work at community hospitals will not only help improve the diagnosis and treatment of common and chronic diseases but also enrich the community's health care resources," said Zhao Xiaoming, director of the Changning district center.

Under the new plan, each doctor should be charged with specific responsibilities to avoid the waste of costly human resources, noted Wu Keming, director of Xuhui district's Xietu community health service center.

"The prevention of some common diseases and frequently-occurring diseases should rely mainly on general practitioners or community doctors, while those with rare diseases can seek treatment from doctors at higher level hospitals," Wu said.

"Clear-cut division of labor will help make optimal use of medical resources," he said.

A doctor surnamed Chen, who declined to give her full name, added that working at different practices gives doctors a way to increase their income. Despite bringing more convenience to local residents, some expressed concern.

"If doctors are busy providing treatment at different clinics and making money, I'm afraid that the quality of treatment can't be ensured," said a woman surnamed Zhang, who was seeking treatment with her husband at Shanghai Zhongshan Hospital.

Experts said a more detailed plan should be established to ensure the successful implementation of the program. The pilot program will formally begin on Dec 15.

Earlier this year, Premier Wen Jiabao stressed in his annual report of government work that the country will improve and advance the system whereby doctors are allowed to work in more than one practice, encourage the reasonable flow of doctors between all types of medical institutions, and encourage them to set up community-level clinics to provide convenient medical and health services.