How can China achieve affordable health care for all?

World’s leading general medical journal The Lancet published a report about China’s healthcare system co-authored by Blavatnik School of Government's Professor Winnie Yip.

Chinese health care system by Tomek Pienicki

The report, published as part of a Lancet themed issue on China, calls on the Chinese government to reform a ‘wasteful and inefficient’ health care delivery system.

The authors say that despite almost doubling its annual health spending, the Chinese government has not reformed the hospital-centred system. Most visits and admissions take place in hospitals, leaving primary healthcare facilities unable to perform prevention and referral functions. As a consequence, chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure are not prevented and controlled.

“Chinese health care still faces considerable challenges to transform from a poorly governed, hospital-centred system that puts profit above patient welfare, to a primary care-based delivery system that is cost effective and better able to respond to a population increasingly affected by chronic diseases and disabilities associated with ageing”, explain authors Winnie Yip and William Hsiao (Harvard School of Public Health).

The report concludes that China needs an alternative health strategy to reform public hospitals to make them efficient, accountable, and less profit-driven - the more so if it intends to simultaneously foster investment to private hospitals.

Read the full article ‘Harnessing the privatisation of China’s fragmented healthcare delivery’  in The Lancet.

Read more about Prof. Winnie Yip.