In China, over 1.43 million family physicians are working tirelessly to provide quality primary healthcare services to residents, contributing to the nation’s efforts to build a healthy society. These doctors, whether working independently or as part of a team, offer a broad range of services to patients in need, including home treatment, long-term prescriptions, and efficient referrals.
Their unwavering dedication and commitment to improving healthcare in China have become essential to the well-being of the people. The work of family doctors has proven critical in identifying and treating health problems in their early stages, which can prevent them from becoming more severe or chronic. By providing accessible and high-quality healthcare services, family doctors are not only improving health outcomes but also reducing healthcare costs for patients.
The development of a hierarchical medical system that enables patients to receive initial diagnoses at the grassroots level is of utmost importance in China, where there is a growing demand for primary healthcare due to aging. The provision of family physician services is an integral part of this system, as it fosters a positive doctor-patient relationship throughout the country. The availability of quality primary healthcare services at the local level is a key component of China’s overall healthcare strategy, and family doctors are at the forefront of this effort.
At the first session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in 2018, Wu Yihuan, a CPPCC member with extensive healthcare experience, submitted a proposal on how to improve family physician services. Her proposal emphasized the importance of clarifying the scope of such services and continuously enhancing the system to ensure high-quality healthcare services for all. The proposal recognizes the critical role that family physicians play in providing accessible and affordable healthcare services to residents, particularly those living in rural areas.
The proposal to improve family physician services in China is a significant step towards the development of a robust and effective hierarchical medical system. The proposal recognizes the need to clarify the scope of services provided by family physicians and ensure that they have access to the necessary resources and training to provide high-quality healthcare services. By supporting family physicians, the Chinese government can ensure that all residents have access to quality primary healthcare services, regardless of their location or socioeconomic status. This, in turn, will lead to improved health outcomes and a more equitable healthcare system in China.
The proposal submitted by Wu Yihuan on improving family physician services in China was met with an immediate response from the National Health Commission (NHC). Officials responsible for primary healthcare quickly reached out to her to discuss the next stage of the work in further detail. This response demonstrates the government’s commitment to improving primary healthcare services and developing a hierarchical medical system that meets the needs of all residents.
In response to the suggestions and proposals of CPPCC members like Wu and representatives of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the NHC released an improved edition of the standards and norms on family physician services in September 2018. The new edition emphasized the need to clarify the scope of family physician services and ensure that they have access to the necessary resources and training to provide high-quality healthcare services. This is an essential step towards the development of a robust and effective hierarchical medical system that provides quality healthcare services to all residents.
Chinese family physicians have played a critical role in the fight against COVID-19 over the past few years, demonstrating their dedication to meeting the health demands of the public. They have been involved in various tasks, such as providing consultation services, conducting health screenings, and administering vaccines. Their efforts have helped to reduce the spread of the virus and provide timely treatment to those in need. Their work during the pandemic has further highlighted the importance of quality primary healthcare services and the critical role that family physicians play in meeting the health needs of the population.
The proposals made by Wu Yihuan and other CPPCC members have played a crucial role in improving family physician services in China. The government’s response to these proposals demonstrates their commitment to developing a hierarchical medical system that meets the needs of all residents. Family physicians have shown their dedication to providing quality healthcare services, and their efforts during the pandemic have highlighted their importance in meeting the health needs of the public. By supporting family physicians, the government can ensure that all residents have access to quality primary healthcare services, leading to improved health outcomes and a more equitable healthcare system in China.
The provision of family physician services is critical to the overall health and well-being of the Chinese population. With the aging of the population, there is an increasing demand for primary healthcare services that can be provided at the local level. Family physicians are best positioned to meet this demand, as they have the training and expertise to identify and treat health problems at the early stages. This not only leads to better health outcomes but also reduces healthcare costs for patients in the long run.
Thanks to the aid of family physicians, over 13 million residents in China were able to receive home treatment as the country entered a new phase of epidemic prevention and control in January. The tireless efforts of family physicians during the pandemic demonstrate their commitment to providing quality healthcare services and their critical role in meeting the health needs of the public.
In addition to home treatment, family physicians made more than 23 million home visits, assisting over 190 million people over the age of 65 in health surveys. These efforts have helped to identify health issues early on, providing timely treatment and improving health outcomes for those in need.
The coverage rate of family physician services for the whole population and key populations is expected to grow by one to three percentage points each year, reaching more than 75 percent by 2035, according to an official document on promoting high-quality family physician services issued by the National Health Commission (NHC) and other five departments in March 2022. This document underscores the government’s commitment to promoting high-quality development in primary healthcare services, providing residents with access to quality healthcare services, and improving health outcomes.
The NHC has reiterated its commitment to working closely with National People’s Congress (NPC) representatives and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) members to promote public health and improve healthcare services. The government will continue to listen to the suggestions and proposals of both NPC representatives and CPPCC members regarding public health, and work towards promoting high-quality development in this area.
Moreover, the contribution of family doctors is even more significant in underserved areas, where they serve as the primary healthcare providers for local communities. Their services ensure that residents have access to preventive care and early interventions, reducing the need for costly hospitalization and long-term care. As such, the work of family doctors is crucial to the overall health and well-being of the Chinese population, and their efforts will continue to have a positive impact on public welfare for years to come.
In conclusion, family physicians have played a critical role in providing quality healthcare services to residents in China, particularly during the pandemic. Their tireless efforts have helped to identify health issues early on, providing timely treatment and improving health outcomes for those in need. The government’s commitment to promoting high-quality development in primary healthcare services will further improve access to quality healthcare services, leading to improved health outcomes and a more equitable healthcare system in China.