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Village doctors to have a makeover

Updated: Jan 19,2015 8:30 PM

The State Council decided at an executive meeting on Jan 19 to improve village doctor services so that rural residents can enjoy convenient, affordable and safe medical services.

There should be at least one village doctor for every 1,000 rural residents, said the meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The meeting decided that:

* Village clinics can upgrade equipment with government subsidies.

* Village doctors enjoy regular free training, and qualified doctors can have training opportunities in big provincial and municipal hospitals.

• Their income should also be raised and more subsidies be provided to those working in remote and border areas under harsh conditions.

• There should be studies on the possibility of contracts between village doctors and rural residents.

* Health service centers in townships should give village doctors priority when they recruit new employees, and medical college graduates who go to work in village clinics will have priority in residency programs.

The State Council also passed a plan on national medical and healthcare services. The plan makes clear that cities and provinces should set up general hospitals according to their population.

The government said it encourages the private sector and other nongovernmental organizations to collaborate with public hospitals for setting up not-for-profit medical institutions. The private sector and other nongovernmental agencies are also encouraged to take part in the restructuring of public hospitals, and to nurture professional companies in hospital management.

It also said it will ease conditions for domestic and foreign investors to jointly set up hospitals.

The plan said the number of beds and expensive equipment in public hospitals should be at a reasonable level, while private hospitals or hospitals funded by other nongovernmental organizations should be encouraged to increase the number of their beds.

The authorities should give priority to improving services at county-level hospitals, and should support the standardization of services provided by village clinics, township health service centers and community health service centers.

Grassroots healthcare institutions should see patients before they are referred to large hospitals; and they should take on the work of rehabilitation and long-term care from large hospitals.

The reform of public hospitals should continue, and the prices of medicines and medical services should be at a reasonable level so that doctors don’t rely on selling medicines to make money.

* The meeting also ratified a 2014 government special allowance to 4,914 professionals who made remarkable contributions to the nation’s development.