I recently went to China as part of a University of Nottingham delegation with colleagues from Medicine and Health Sciences. This visit was to support the development of the Centre for Evidence Based Health care at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. We visited hospitals in Ningbo, and met with the Health and Family Planning Committees for Ningbo and Beijing (very roughly equivalent to an NHS Strategic Health Authority).
What struck me about health care in China was the sheer scale of everything. Beijing Health and Family Planning Committee plans healthcare for over 20 million people. A hospital outpatient clinic might see 100 patients in a morning. If you think parking at an NHS hospital is difficult, then you should see the size of the traffic jam that surrounds some of the hospitals in the morning.
Perhaps the most significant policy priority for Chinese healthcare appeared to be the need to move services out of hospital, in order to better care for an ageing population, and a growing burden of chronic diseases – which might sound familiar to UK readers. China’s achievement in providing universal health care in a country of this size is impressive, though the range of services provided is not as broad as the UK NHS. I was also impressed by the information systems in the hospitals we visited, and by how quickly hospitals are built.
CHILL is looking forward to working with colleagues at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, and in the Chinese health care system on a variety of projects including research, development, evaluation and executive education.