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Premier Li pushes for relaxation on private medical service regulations

Updated: May 6,2017 9:24 AM

More should be done to lift restrictions on private medical services, Premier Li Keqiang stressed at the State Council executive meeting on May 3.

“Lots of private investors are looking forward to investing in social sectors, such as medical and elderly care services. But there are too many limits due to administrative approvals. Governments should relax necessary things so it would be easy for social sectors to provide medical services,” Premier Li said.

According to this year’s government work report, one of the major tasks in 2017 is to support social sectors in providing medical services, promote innovation in the service industry, and further integrate medical services and elderly care.

The Premier talked about his recent community visit in Shandong province and said that thanks to the integration of medical services and elderly care in a community hospital, many elders are happier and feel safer as they can be taken care of and receive treatment at the same time.

The increasing aging population in China has surpassed 200 million, which means huge market demand and a gap in the integration of medial services and elderly care. But administrative reforms are still lagging, according to the Premier.

“For example, some preconditions required by local governments, such as how many beds a medical department should have and how large a ward should be, are too detailed to prevent social sectors from participating in medical services, while high-quality medical resources amass in large public hospitals rarely go down to lower-level medical institutions,” he said.

To change the current situation and promote medical reform, a series of policies were made at the State Council executive meeting, including streamlining administrative approval for private medical services, convenient industrial and commercial registration of medical service institutions, lifting restrictions on eligible and qualified private medical services, and promoting regional physician registration.

The Premier urged inclusive, effective and prudent regulation to improve private medical services, saying that if the main focus is on administrative approval, efforts to enhance regulation will fail.

The meeting also decided to crack down on license renting, fake medical advertisements and illegal medical practices.

Government departments should have more communication with private medical service companies, doctors and patients to understand their difficulties, so that a new driving force of medical services can be fostered and people’s lives can be improved, according to the Premier.