Health authorities across China will continue to intensify efforts to develop county-level public hospitals over the next few years to improve access to quality medical services for patients in rural areas, the health minister said on Thursday.
A child receives medical examination. (Photo: China Daily)
It is expected that by the end of 2020 another 1,000 public hospitals in counties, including 500 hospitals specializing in traditional Chinese medicine, will be elevated to tertiary hospitals, so patients in these counties will not have to travel to big cities for serious diseases, Ma Xiaowei, minister in charge of the National Health Commission, said at a news conference.
Medical resources are generally unevenly distributed in China, with top hospitals and medical talent concentrated in big hospitals in large cities, which has meant many rural patients with serious diseases having had to travel far for treatment.
"If we want to solve the problem so hundreds of millions of rural population will not have difficulty accessing quality and cheaper medical services, we must ensure they can have most diseases diagnosed and treated in the counties where they live," he said.
The commission has been working with the Ministry of Finance since 2004 to encourage major public hospitals in cities to provide assistance to targeted county hospitals to help them improve, he said.
Up to now 500 county hospitals across China have reached the level of tertiary hospitals, Ma said.