Twenty seven provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across China have issued guidelines or plans for promoting family doctor services, according to the top health authority.
By the end of 2016, 22.2 percent of Chinese citizens and 38.8 percent of priority groups enjoyed services from family doctors in cities that piloted the program, the National Health and Family Planning Commission announced recently.
Priority groups are seniors, pregnant women, children, the disabled, patients with chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and tuberculosis, as well as those with severe mental disorders.
Family doctor services will be extended to over 85 percent of Chinese cities, covering 30 percent of the urban population and over 60 percent of priority groups in 2017, said Li Bin, head of the commission.
The program is key to establishing a tiered disease treatment system, which means medical institutions receive patients according to the severity of their illnesses, said Li.
To attract more family doctors, the government will also facilitate the transfer of patients with more advanced conditions to major hospitals, according to an official with the commission.
Family doctors, including general practitioners registered with grassroots health institutions, qualified doctors at township clinics and village doctors, provide basic medical care and other health services.