China plans to ensure private hospitals get subsidies, finance

China has moved to flesh out guidelines for an expansion of private hospitals by allowing subsidies and finance to flow to new companies as a way to allow patients access to newer services and ease demand on the public system.

The country's State Council, or cabinet, this week issued policies aimed at removing policy obstacles restricting private clinics and hospitals,

In April, the State Council said it was developing a plan over the next 5 years to increase the ratio of medical personnel to patients and encouraging more private clinics and hospitals.

In the latest document the State Council said it would reduce limits for approving operations of private companies and "establish medical care industry investment foundations" in order to provide funding and subsidies for nonpublic medical agencies.

Currently, 90% of China's hospitals are public with the government aiming by 2020 to have private hospitals provide 1.5 hospital beds for every 1,000 people and account for a third of the nation's hospitals. The overall bed to 1,000 people ratio is 4.55 now; it will increase to 6 in 2020.

The general practitioner ratio currently is 1.07 for every 10,000; it will increase to 2. There are 2.05 nurses per 1,000 citizens; it will increase to 3.14. The doctor-to-nurse ratio will rise from 1:1 to 1:1.25. However, no new word was given on where those personnel would come from over the next 5 years.

- here's the State Council release
- and a brief from Xinhua