General physicians an emerging new medical force in Shanghai

Cai Wenjun
Shanghai's community health centers have around 30,000 medical staff and 6,600 general physicians offering primary care to citizens.
Cai Wenjun

There are over 30,000 medical personnel and 6,600 general physicians working in Shanghai's 249 neighborhood health centers, which are a key force in providing health care at the grassroots level.

According to the Shanghai Health Commission, grassroots medics provide diagnosis and treatment for people with common and chronic diseases, public health and management, and precise transmission of severe cases to senior hospitals.

The GPs provide medical advice to citizens, from chronic illness screening to hospice care, and pediatric care to geriatric health management.

During the three-year anti-pandemic campaign, grassroots medics played a big role in nucleic acid testing, close-contact screening, separation and observation, community health monitoring and discharged patient treatment.

During the lockdown, they also arranged for drug prescriptions and deliveries of medicines for residents, as well as transferred and serviced patients in need of treatment such as dialysis and chemotherapy.

Following the optimization of COVID-19 management late last year, all 2,549 fever wards at local health facilities were promptly placed into use, providing coronavirus patients with easy and high-quality care.

The city is promoting GP services and encouraging residents to contact GPs for common and chronic diseases and obtain frequent and long-term management as part of the "Healthy Shanghai" strategy and a classified health system.

Over 9.5 million citizens have signed agreements with GPs thus far, representing more than 80 percent of essential demographics such as the elderly, children, persons with chronic diseases, pregnant women and new mothers.

More medical functions are being added to health clinics located near people's homes.

So far, many community health centers have begun to provide rehabilitative services, bed-ridden patient management, and hospice care to terminally ill patients.

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