The State Council has approved a guideline mapping out medical services over the next five years to optimize medical resources and make health services more accessible.
The guideline also focuses on the planning of hospitals across the country between 2015 — 2020, and aims to ensure that by 2020 there are six hospital beds for every 1,000 people and two general practitioners for every 10,000 people in China.
In 2013, there were on average 4.55 hospital beds for every 1,000 people in China, 1.07 general practitioners for every 10,000 people and 2.05 nurses for every 1,000 people. The guideline targets an increase in the number of nurses to 3.14 per 1,000 people by 2020, and a boost to the doctor/nurse ratio from 1:1.25 from 1:1.
China lacks adequate medical resources, and the quality of current medical services is low, the guideline, issued on March 30, said.
The guideline vows to make basic medical needs a priority and tackle problems by replanning medical institutions across the country.
Specifically, China's community-level hospitals will be planned in accordance with demographic data, while the role of key hospitals at or above the provincial level will be emphasized.
The guideline underscored the principle of fairness with regard to hospital planning, so as to make health service more accessible. It calls for the integration of functions of various medical institutions to provide the public with more comprehensive medical services.
Efficiency and cost reduction are also emphasized, as the guideline criticizes unnecessary equipment procurement.
The government will play a role in policy-making, overall planning and supervising, to make sure the medical system benefits the public, while the market will decide the distribution of medical resources, the guideline said.
The number and size of public hospitals needs to be controlled within a reasonable range, according to the guideline. With nearly 90 percent of the hospitals across the countries public, China plans to promote the development of nonpublic hospitals. By 2020, private hospitals should provide at least 1.5 hospital beds for every thousand people, with the public/private hospital beds ratio being 3:1, the guideline said.
Policies will be tailored to cultivate more medical expertise, especially in the fields of care, public health, traditional Chinese medicine and medical management.
The guideline also encouraged the use of technology to boost healthcare services. China will launch a "smart" medical project, combining the mobile Internet, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and wearable devices to collect big data on healthcare and benefit people as a whole, the guideline added.