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China invests 3 trillion yuan in healthcare

2014-04-09 10:11 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

The Chinese government has pumped around three trillion yuan (about $488 billion) into its medical care reform in the past five years, the nation's health authorities said on Tuesday.

The investment was made both by the central government and local authorities, Mao Qun'an, spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said at a press conference.

After years of effort, China's public hospital reform has reached more than 1,000 counties across the country, covering a population of 500 million, said Mao. "To put it simply, the framework for a national basic medical insurance system has been comprehensively established," he said.

Mao noted that a key factor to further China's healthcare reform is to increase salaries for medical staff and cut the link between doctors' income and medicine sales.

Salaries are generally low for staff in public hospitals, which dominate the nation's health service market. Thus, many doctors have colluded with pharmaceutical companies and earned "gray income" by over-prescribing drugs or prescribing unnecessary drugs.

Solving the problem is an urgent task for the commission and it has been taking action, according to Mao.

The spokesman also said the commission will strengthen protection for medical staff after a spate of patient violence against such personnel.

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