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First-class medical care for the wealth

By Liu Zhihua (China Daily)

09:20, July 18, 2012

More well-off Chinese are opting for expensive private hospital care, rather than waiting their turn at public hospitals.

Ren Ni, director of an international exhibition company, had her laser eye surgery recently at a private eye clinic of Singapore Medical Group and was totally satisfied with the excellent service.

"I am very busy, and cannot afford the long waiting time at public hospitals," Ren says. "At a private healthcare agency, I can decide when to receive the treatment to minimize disruption at work."

She says the clinic she went to has first-class facilities, and is furnished like a lavish hotel.

Each consultation was thorough, which reassured her, Ren says, and the doctor spent hours ensuring she understood the procedure.

"They didn't try to sell the surgery to me. I went for the surgery because it suited me," Ren says.

It was not the first time Ren opted for a private clinic. In the last four years, she has had private dental care at a clinic near her home.

"I receive better service at these private medical agencies. If I can't get an appointment at private hospitals, I'll go to exclusive clinics at public hospitals."

Private hospitals are now targeting rich Chinese like Ren. Previously, most of their patients were expats.

"The number of Chinese clients has been increasing rapidly since 2006, especially in departments such as obstetrics, gynecology and pediatrics," says Zhu Yafei, a publicity officer with United Family Healthcare, the country's first — and one of the largest — international network of hospitals and clinics.

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