Vice Premier calls for advancing China's health care reforms against all odds

09:16, January 20, 2011      

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Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (C) speaks at the eighth plenary of the State Council's leading group on health care reforms in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 18, 2011. Li called for advancing the country's medical reforms against all odds during the meeting held in the capital city on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday urged advancing the nation's health care reforms against all odds in 2011.

Li, who heads the State council's leading group on health care reforms, made the remarks while presiding over the eighth plenum of the group.

The meeting discussed work agendas in 2011, plans for piloting public hospital reforms, guidelines on training General Practitioners (GP) and other topics.

Li said health care reforms had made great headway since they were launched one year ago, and people had received tangible benefits from the reforms. China should press ahead, against all odds, with the reforms.

Li urged improving the health insurance system so that people with major diseases would receive better financial protection.

Also, Li stressed streamlining the centralized procurement and distribution of essential medicines so that the medicine system covered most government-sponsored grass-roots health institutions.

China began implementing the essential medicine system in 2009 in a bid to reduce costs for patients. Essential medicines are heavily subsidized so hospitals can sell them at their cost.

Further, Li urged training grass-roots medical personnel, and staff the nation's 50,000 grass-roots medical institutions with a certain number of GPs so patients would have easier access to medical services.

In the public hospital reforms, Li said priority should be given to county-level hospitals that served 900 million people. Capacity building of county-level hospitals was pivotal to improve the affordability and accessibility of medical services.

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