China will double the number of its general doctors by 2020, according to a report released by its main administrative authority. The scheme aims to better serve its public sector and improve technology in an “overheated” healthcare system.
Chinese clinics and hospitals are plagued by huge queues and poor services, especially in the rural regions.China’s fast-growing healthcare market is developing into a perfect scenario for global drug makers, hospital operators and medical device firms, which are all looking to share huge healthcare incomes, which are expected to hit $1 trillion by 2020.
“Healthcare resources overall are insufficient, quality is too low, our structures are badly organized and service systems fragmented. Parts of the public hospital system have also become bloated,” China’s State Council said in a five-year plan that was announced late on Monday.
According to the new scenario, healthcare officials will have to achieve some targets nationwide between 2015 and 2020. Beijing added it wanted to have two general doctors per thousand citizens by 2020, which would mean almost doubling the number of medics from the start of 2014. The plan also aims to increase the the number of nursing and support staff.
China suffers from a lack of doctors, partly caused by low wages and benefits. The situation has created congestion at popular urban hospitals. Also, the general healthcare environment of the country is split between medical practitioners and often frustrated patients.
The plan said China would also develop and implement technology such as mobile devices to meet some of the problems. China wants to have digital databases for electronic health records, but also patient information covering most parts of the entire population by 2020, it said.
The healthcare issue is a key issue for president Xi Jingpin, who promised to provide access to affordable healthcare to the entire population. However, recent investigations have discovered huge corruption scandals in the sector. Patients often have to cover a big part of the expenses due to low levels of insurance coverage.
The plan said China would also develop its grassroots healthcare, a fast-growing business segment, which is already gaining pace in some large public hospitals in urban centers. The document added that healthcare will further open to the private sector, where international firms already collaborate with local companies.
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