IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FAMILY DOCTOR SYSTEM, which is part of the ongoing medical reform, is proceeding smoothly. So far, 26 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions have issued guidelines on the service, which is expected to cover 85 percent of the cities nationwide. Legal Daily comments:
The family doctor system has been receiving a warmer welcome than anticipated. In Beijing alone, by the end of last March, 3.85 million families, had signed contracts with family doctors, the number of which is expected to grow this year.
Medical resources will be distributed in a more balanced way as more residents sign contracts with family doctors. When people have minor complaints such as a cold or a light injury, family doctors will treat them, which will save precious medical resources for those who have a serious disease or injury.
However, the fact is that many residents who have signed such contracts still visit big hospitals when they get ill.
In order to solve this problem, there are four proposals. First, better inform residents about the role of family doctors and the greater convenience they offer. People should made aware that family doctors and community hospitals can solve the majority of common health issues.
Second, certain medical authorities encourage famous doctors to sign family doctor contracts, which is wrong because their workload is full. It it necessary to encourage the doctors at lower-level medical facilities to become family doctors.
Third, the cost of family doctors should be controlled so that more families can afford the service. Currently, the medical security fund, the local basic health service fund, and the signing families bear the cost of treatment by a family doctor together. That mode is good for an ordinary family, but for those in economic difficulties the financial burden is still too heavy. Local governments should subsidize poor families to encourage them to sign up with family doctors.
Last but not the least, families should be given a bigger say in the performance evaluation of family doctors. A rating system should be introduced so that families can share their opinions about family doctors, so the latter are encouraged to provide better services.