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January 26, 2015

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Health centers to offer wider prescription choices

PATIENTS who go to crowded major hospitals to get the prescriptions of their choice will this year be able to pick them up from community health centers.

This is intended to ease pressure on the city’s most popular hospitals and encourage patients with chronic conditions to use facilities nearer home.

Shen Xiaochu, director of Shanghai’s health and family planning commission, announced this at the city’s political advisory body meeting yesterday.

Shen was responding to committee member Jiang Haiyang, who called for a wider range of medication to be offered at local health center level.

Currently, while drugs for conditions such as diabetes and hypertension are available at local level, patients often favor a particular brand only offered at large hospitals.

Shen said community health centers presently offer around 800 drugs. But this year, patients will be able to go their local center to get drugs now only available at hospitals.

Shen did not give a date for this.

Jiang said the current situation adds to the burden on large hospitals.

“Though the government encourages local residents to see doctors in community clinics, many patients have found that they cannot get the medicines they want there,” Jiang said.

“So many people go back to large hospitals, undermining government efforts to divert patient flow.”

Shen added that central pharmacies will also be built up to help deliver medication door to door.

In 2011, Shanghai took the lead in China in introducing licensed family doctors at community health centers.

Around 4,000 family doctors now provide services for 9.36 million residents, city health officials said last month.


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