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Partnerships planned for medical institutes

By Wang Xiaodong | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-15 07:29

Medical partnerships will be promoted across China by 2020 to provide patients with more sustainable and efficient healthcare services, according to a central government guideline to be released.

Medical partnerships, which promote effective cooperation and coordination between different types of medical institutes, play a very important role in establishing a tiered medical care system, which is key to the success of China's ongoing healthcare reform, Wang Hesheng, deputy director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, China's top health authority, said on Friday.

All major public hospitals in China must participate and take a leading role in the development of medical partnerships by the end of this year, according to the guideline, which has been approved by the State Council and will be released soon, he said.

By the end of last year, 205 cities at prefecture level or above in China had piloted medical partnerships, accounting for more than 60 percent of such cities.

These cities have established medical partnerships in various forms, and in many cases a partnership consists of a major public hospital, which leads the partnership, and smaller hospitals and community clinics, he said.

Through the cooperation among members of a partnership, patients with minor or chronic diseases are encouraged to seek diagnosis and treatment at community clinics first, instead of overcrowded big hospitals.

In Xiamen, Fujian province, where pilot partnership programs has been established since 2012, the percentage of patients with diabetes who seek treatment at grassroots medical institutions has risen to 78.1 percent, up from 40.7 percent in 2012, and medical expenditure per treatment has decreased 27.5 percent, he said.

"Through medical partnerships, the relationships between hospitals, medical staff and patients should be changed from a temporary one to a long-term and continuing one," said Liang Wannian, chief for the commission's medical reform department.

Medical partnerships have responsibility to provide comprehensive and continuing services to their patients, including disease prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, he said.

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