Community health centers to ease pressure on large hospitals

By Wang Hongyi in Shanghai ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-10-30 07:35:18

 Community health centers to ease pressure on large hospitals

People receive medical service at a community clinic in Shanghai. Pei Xin / Xinhua

Wang Yao, a 31-year-old Shanghai woman, developed a high fever last month after returning from a business trip.

Community health centers to ease pressure on large hospitals

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Community health centers to ease pressure on large hospitals

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The high temperatures made her toss and turn all night.

"My husband took me to a hospital immediately," she says. Wang didn't go to a community health service center, which is just about a 10-minute walk away.

"I had a blood test in the hospital and the doctor said it was not a big problem. He prescribed me a dose of medicine and asked me to rest at home. The whole process took me less than 30 minutes," Wang says.

"I know the community hospital might be more convenient. But I prefer larger hospitals though they are far away because I think the medical staff in the bigger hospitals might be more professional and experienced," Wang says.

Like Wang, many patients share the same opinion. But many cities across the country including Shanghai are promoting community-based health service centers, which could divert some patients from large hospitals, especially those with minor illnesses.

"Patients like to rush to large hospitals when they feel slightly unwell. Consequently, all major hospitals are bursting at the seams. These minor ailments can actually be treated in community-based hospitals," says Xiao Feng, head of a community hospital in Shanghai's Changning district.

In 2011, Shanghai took the lead in the country promoting a new system for patients by introducing licensed family doctors at community health centers. Under this system, residents can receive medical advice and treatment in or near their communities without going to large hospitals where they have to wait for a long time. The system also eases the pressure on the big and often overloaded hospitals.

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