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Pudong builds high-end international medical center

SHANGHAI expats will be able to see doctors in two new hospitals in Pudong and Hongqiao after the city removes the VIP rooms from local public hospitals, which are originally designed for foreigners and wealthy Chinese.

Shanghai International Medical Center, one of the two high-end hospitals with VIP services, will be under construction this Friday and be completed by 2013.

Parkway Health Medical Center, a leading healthcare group in Singapore, will manage the operation of the new hospital. Local first-class hospitals and foreign-owned clinics will be invited to offer services in the center.

The world-class medical center will offer services in English, Japanese and other languages and aim to attract patients from around the world. The city is still working on the payment issues of the hospital to ensure its services are covered by foreign medical insurances.

The authorities are also exploring ways to allow public hospital doctors who are now working in VIP rooms to also serve in the new medical center, a practice against the current law that forbids doctors to work for more than one hospital. But industry experts are confident that this problem can be solved through the city's ongoing medical reform.

The advanced medical center is part of the city's medical reform plan to remove VIP rooms from public hospitals within three years.

VIP rooms in public hospitals have been drawing complaints for a long time. "It's unfair that only the rich can enjoy the most skilled doctors and the best medical resources while ordinary people have to wait in long queues," said a local resident, Li Bin.

Without the VIP rooms, public hospitals can devote themselves to basic, non-profit health care, while the two new hospitals in Pudong and Hongqiao will focus on high-end services at higher costs.

"The new hospital will make you feel like in a hotel and even at home," said Steve Xin, chief executive officer of the Shanghai International Medical Center, which will occupy 11.79 square kilometers of land in the Nanhui area of Pudong.

The first phase of the hospital will have 500 beds in single rooms and double rooms fitted with a private bathroom. The hospital is expected to enter into service in 2013.

The hospital is jointly funded by Shanghai International Medical Zone Ltd and eight investment firms. Its first phase will cost 800 million yuan (US$123.7).


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