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July 6, 2012

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Local families to sign up with general practitioner

SHANGHAI will copy the general practitioner medical model of many Western countries so that each local family is signed up with a GP for basic health service and proper medical insurance payments by 2020, when local health authorities plan to have such a policy in place.

According to the plan, each GP will serve 800 families or 2,000 to 5,000 residents. Since starting a pilot in 10 districts last year, 76,890 families have signed service agreement with general practitioners in 122 community hospitals, officials from Shanghai Health Bureau said yesterday. The trial will be promoted in all districts and Chongming County this year.

Under the service agreement, residents will have a personal database and receive health consultations and treatment from their general practitioner. The GP will give guidance and treatment for chronic and common diseases, give advice on any health problem and help arrange patient transfers to higher-level hospitals if the illness is complicated.

"Our aim is for each family and each resident have one specific GP who is familiar with each patient's health condition and gives timely direction and help," said Liu Hongwei from Shanghai Health Bureau. "Patients can receive health screenings, education and treatment at nearby community hospitals instead of going all the way to crowded big hospitals, where 60 percent of patients have chronic and common diseases."

Following the experience of Western countries, the local health bureau will also pay each GP according to the amount of service - the number of families and residents for which they have signed a service agreement.

"We will pay the budget of medical insurance expenses to the GP according to his or her service amount," Liu said. "GPs also have the responsibility to consult with specialists at higher-level hospitals. ... Each family and resident can choose their GP freely every year," Liu added.


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