More than a third of Beijing’s permanent residents were covered by family doctor services as of the end of last year, according to the Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission.
The overall health of Beijing’s population has improved greatly since 2009, when China launched a series of programs to promote the equalization of basic public health services nationwide, said Liu Zejun, a member of the Beijing commission who is in charge of disease prevention and control, at a news conference on Monday.
Last year, average life expectancy in Beijing increased to more than 82 years, up from 80.4 in 2009, while the infant mortality rate decreased to 2.21 per thousand last year, from 3.49 per thousand in 2009 — a level similar to that of developed countries, he said.
By the end of last year, 3.84 million households in Beijing, or 7.7 million residents, had signed up for family doctor services at community health centers, accounting for more than 35 percent of the city’s permanent population, Liu said.
China carried out a series of public health programs in 2009 to cope with increasing health challenges, such as heavier burdens caused by noninfectious chronic diseases and an aging population, said Gao Guangming, deputy chief for community health affairs at the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
The services, offered free by grassroots health institutions, include establishing electronic health records and providing vaccinations for infants, as well as prenatal health checkups, he said.
More than 76 percent of people in China had health records by the end of 2015, he said. More than 88 million patients with hypertension were under management by grassroots health providers by the end of 2015, two and a half times that in 2010, Gao said.
In recent years, new services, such as those offered by family doctors, have become part of basic public health services in places such as Beijing and Tianjin, according to the national health authority.
Chang Yi, director of the health center in the Nanmofang community in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, said 56,000 people in the community, nearly half of all residents, have signed up with family doctors since 2010.
“All the residents must have their health records established at the community health center before signing with family doctors,” Chang said. “They can enjoy free services including health checkups, chronic disease management and referrals to top-grade hospitals by their doctors when necessary.”
Lu Jijun, a general practitioner at the health center in Tianjin’s Youyilu community, said more than 3,000 people there have signed up for family doctor services since June 1.
The fee is 120 yuan ($17.60) a year, but after government subsidies, it comes to less than 20 yuan, she said.