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April 18, 2014

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Hospitals preparing for baby boom

ABOUT 15,000 couples will welcome a second child this year as a result of changes to the city’s family planning regulations, authorities said yesterday.

The effect of the law change in March — which allows couples to have a second baby if either parent is an only child — will be an extra 20,000 to 30,000 newborns per year, the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission said.

In the 2014-16 period, about 200,000 babies are expected to be born each year in Shanghai, officials said. With 3,600 maternity beds, the city’s hospitals are equipped to deal with about 250,000 births per year.

While there is sufficient capacity to cope with the expected number of deliveries, the commission is keen to ensure that beds at the city’s premier maternity units are reserved for mothers in the most need.

“The city has six hospitals that have advanced equipment and facilities, and beds there will be made available for women with complicated pregnancies to ensure the safety of both mothers and babies,” commission director Shen Xiaochu said.

Women whose pregnancies are straightforward should wherever possible use their local hospitals and health centers, he said.

The same principle applies to people with health issues, Shen said.

While large city hospitals are equipped to deal with complicated and difficult cases, local facilities are better suited to treating people with day-to-day and chronic ailments, he said.

“We want people to use their general physicians, because as well as being doctors, they also manage people’s records,” he said.

Community health centers are also being given greater responsibility for caring for the elderly, Shen said.

“We plan to make an extra 10,000 beds available for elderly care in downtown neighborhoods,” he said.

On the subject of parent-doctor relationships, Shen said the authorities are looking at the situation from both sides.

“As well as tightening the supervision of medical staff (more than 150 lose their licenses every year due to malpractice charges) we want the government to introduce stiffer penalties for people who use violence against medics,” he said.


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