China’s National Development and Reform Commission has launched a series of family physician training programmes in 10 different cities, covering both the east and west provinces of China. Prof. Xiaolin Wei, Head of Global Health Research and Development, is an expert in primary care and has been chosen to lead a review of the training programme in Guiyang province.
The programme is part of the Chinese government’s plan to create a primary care referral system where patients seek care from family physicians first, and are then referred to big hospitals for specialist care only. The programme forms part of a wider health reform initiative to strengthen primary care facilities, such as Community Health Centres (CHCs) in urban areas and township hospitals in rural areas.
The health reform initiative also aims to discourage profit-seeking behaviours at the primary care level and to promote the use of drugs on the essential drug lists, therefore eliminating mark-ups on drugs dispensed in CHCs. Other strategies include promoting health insurance coverage, reforming public hospitals and establishing the essential medicines programme.