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May 10, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Hospitals to get more funds from government

LOCAL health authorities will reform state-owned hospitals, providing them with more government investment so they will no longer need income from selling drugs, a move designed to stop the prescribing of unnecessary and expensive medicines.

Four new state-owned large hospitals and some hospitals in the Pudong New Area will adopt the system in the second half of this year as a trial, with plans to promote it to more hospitals in two to three years, Xu Jianguang, director of the Shanghai Health Bureau, said yesterday.

Hospitals are now allowed to add up to a 15 percent surcharge for medicines they sell.

All neighborhood health centers have been selling the 688 basic medicines at their cost price to attract patients to go to grassroots hospitals, while district and city-level hospitals still depend on the surcharge due to the government's low investment.

"State-owned hospitals will be truly non-profitable, when hospitals needn't earn money by themselves for new buildings and big equipment," Xu said. "Their major responsibility is to offer good and economic treatment for patients."

At present, only 3 to 4 percent of income of a state-owned hospital comes from governmental investment. The hospitals must earn the rest to cover their operations, including payroll, equipment purchase and new building construction, insiders said.

"The reform will be conducted in the four new big hospitals in November, when they start pilot operation," Xu said.

In addition to the reform of state-owned hospitals, Shanghai will further the promotion of general physicians in all neighborhood health centers.

"Shanghai needs about 10,000 GPs, each of whom serves 2,000 to 2,500 people," Xu said. "We now have trained 6,000 GPs and will finish the training for all the 10,000 GPs in two to three years, when a network is completed for primary treatment and distribution of serious patients to district and city-level hospitals for a better use of limited medical resources."

Moreover, Shanghai will push individual and foreign investment into the local health care industry, including two international medical parks, the health chief said.


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