Beijing's municipal government plans to invest 520 million yuan (US$62.8 million) this year to improve eight general hospitals, and five will set up branches in outlying residential areas, according to the local Star Daily on Tuesday.
"Beijing should build less shopping centers and more hospitals," Deputy Ma Yanjun told the city's People's Congress session in January.
He submitted a proposal pointing out that business facilities have been developing rapidly, far surpassing the purchasing power of residents, and some shopping centers have even been left unused, wasting resources. However, medical facilities can't satisfy demand in either quantity or quality, and many citizens have difficulties seeing a doctor or getting into hospital.
The Beijing Municipal Commission of Reform and Development (BMCRD) responded to Ma's proposal at the beginning of June, saying the development of large commercial facilities is being limited. Such construction will be adjusted through planning, and government will no longer fund it.
On June 6, the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau recognized that the current configuration of services results in inadequacy and wastefulness. There aren't enough general medical facilities for everyone in the capital, but there is a surplus of specialist centers. They aim for there to be one general hospital for every 400,000-500,000 people by 2020.
The BMCRD, in response to the municipal government, is increasing this year's investment in building medical facilities to 520 million yuan (US$62.8 million), up 63 percent on last year. The investment structure will favor the city's suburbs.
Key projects include the first phase of renovation and enlargement of You'an Hospital, relocation of Ditan Hospital, first phase of renovation of Chaoyang Hospital, refurbishment of the Beijing Chemical Poisoning and Nuclear Radiation Treatment Center and the emergency center of the Beijing Children's Hospital, and renovation and extension of Beijing Hospital's cadre health care center, Anding Hospital's outpatient ward building and Xuanwu Hospital.
More funds will be invested in refurbishing and building 1,486 medicare stations and offices in communities and villages, 412 communicable disease consulting rooms, 67 communicable disease clinics, 61 isolation rooms, 16 first aid stations in remote towns and 136 on the city's outskirts, and 37 township and county hospitals in mountainous regions.
To improve the access of outlying communities, five large general hospitals will build branches this year not only in the suburbs, but also in newly-established districts, large communities and areas joining town and country.
(China.org.cn by Zhang Tingting, June 12, 2005)