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January 9, 2013

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Family doctors to cover all districts by year end

SHANGHAI plans to have family doctors in all districts and county by the end of this year, the city's health authority said yesterday.

The idea, which is already being tested in some districts, allows residents to see a general practitioner at community-based health centers.

The Shanghai Health Bureau will work out rules this year on the duties and services of general practitioners and promote the service across the city, Huang Fengping, deputy director of the bureau, told local lawmakers.

"The bureau will also carry out a new rule this year to give preference to general practitioners to help arrange patient transfers to higher-level hospitals through an online appointment system," Huang said.

According to the bureau, each GP will serve 800 families, or 2,000 to 5,000 residents.

Since the city started a pilot program in 10 districts in November 2011, 76,890 families have signed service agreements with general practitioners in 122 community hospitals.

Family doctors treat chronic and common diseases, give advice on health problems and help arrange patient transfers to higher-level hospitals when necessary.

However, not all residents can be covered due to the shortage of family doctors, said Liu Hongwei, an official with the health bureau who is in charge of community health care services.

The city has more than 2,000 general practitioners in the pilot hospitals and needs another 4,000 to ensure no family doctor serves more than 2,500 patients, Liu said.

Nationwide, there are 78,000 general practitioners, which is also far from enough, according to media reports.


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