23 Dec 2010 09:07

Public hospital reform lagging - NDRC official

Shanghai. December 23. INTERFAX-CHINA - China must intensify the ongoing public hospital reform which is falling short of public expectations, Zhang Ping, minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told the National People's Congress (NPC) Dec. 22.

The comments came in an NPC review of the progress of health care reforms.

China needs to accelerate pilot reforms in 16 cities, and prioritize aspects such as management efficiency and the introduction of performance-based appraisals, Zhang said.

"Experimenting with the separation of dispensing and prescribing functions and for-profit and non-profit hospitals is encouraged," he said.

According to the official, public hospitals should strengthen management and respond better to public needs with measures such as adjusting opening hours.

Currently, clinical pathways for 112 diseases are being instituted in 110 hospitals, and booking systems for medical services have been introduced in 1,200 grade III hospitals.

Zhang said health authorities will continue to nurture the development of county hospitals and enhance cooperation between hospitals and grassroots medical institutions. So far, 1,100 grade III hospitals have established relationships with 2,139 county hospitals.

China will also introduce policies to encourage private investment in the medical service sector, according to Zhang.

Additionally, government at all levels should boost investment in the essential drug system and public hospital reform. And measures will be rolled out to encourage local governments to accelerate reform.

"The progress of reform will be used as a performances indicator for local governments, and subsidies will be increased for regions which are successful," Zhang said.

- KZ