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Nation must improve medical services across China, official says

By Wang Qingyun

BEIJING, April 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Beijing's Health and Family Planning Commission said on Tuesday that differences in the quality of medical services provided across China create a major burden for hospitals in Beijing.

In 2013, hospitals in Beijing received more than 218 million outpatients and more than 2.9 million inpatients. Both numbers are more than 8 percent higher than 2012 figures.

Zhong Dongbo, deputy director of the city's Health and Family Planning Commission, said that with more patients traveling to the nation's capital to receive medical treatment, the growth rate in the number of patients in Beijing's hospitals has outpaced the city's population growth rate.

Last year, Beijing's population grew by 4.41 percent, according to the city's report on healthcare statistics issued on Tuesday.

"We need to improve medical services provided by different provinces so that fewer people will need to come to Beijing for treatment. Beijing is also willing to support different provinces to develop their medical service," he said.

More than 50 percent of patients who travel to Beijing seeking treatment come from five provinces and regions: Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and Henan provinces as well as the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Beijing should consider cooperating with these provinces to improve their medical services and relieve the capital's burden, Zhong said.

Public hospitals in the city have long been overburdened with too many patients, who not only need basic treatment, but also want luxury or VIP medical services.

Public hospitals should gradually control and reduce their luxury medical services and focus on basic medical services, Zhong said.

The city is working to attract private hospitals to offer luxury services. In 2013, the city government approved 34 new private hospitals.

By the end of that year, there were 374 private hospitals in the city, accounting for more than half of the city's hospitals.

(Source: chinadaily.com.cn)

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