Going to an international hospital in China is for some people well worth any extra cost which they may have to personally bear. Doctors working in international clinics are often foreigners themselves who bring a very different medical philosophy and bedside manner with them compared to their local colleagues. Furthermore, those working in international hospitals who are Chinese professionals, have in most cases received their medical education overseas and to all intents and purposes are very similar in their outlook and approach to treatment. The upshot of this is that virtually all professionals working at international hospitals speak fluent English, and many may speak another foreign language.
Public Vs International Hospitals
When going to the doctor in a local hospital in China, you may feel the general approach of the entire hospital is rather cold, factory-like and extremely impersonal; you typically will never see the same doctor twice across multiple visits. But in an international hospital you can expect to see the same face each time you visit. The doctor will build a knowledge and understanding of your medical history and keep records should you need to return.
This more personal approach will also see them take more time to look at your health in general, and monitor your use of medications to make sure you are consuming them in the correct manner. As they have less patients, in general they have more time to spend with you giving a better overall result. You’ll come away from the hospital feeling confident that the issue has been treated correctly and that you’ve handled finding healthcare as best you can. This is very important psychologically both for your own peace of mind in general and also your recovery from whatever ailment you have. In China, where the environment can be stressful for those not familiar with it, all of the above is a priceless advantage that goes a long way to making your stay as an expat a fruitful and healthy one.
Unfortunately international hospitals are not as numerous in China as they might be for regulatory reasons. Despite the local populace becoming more affluent and demanding the kind of higher quality healthcare which expats commonly receive, laws mean only investors from Greater China – Macau, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Mainland, can wholly own international hospitals. These rules are being overhauled, but they have yet to be finalized and significant changes are not expected soon.
Added to this is the fact that such international hospitals typically are not integrated into the Chinese national health insurance system. This makes many Chinese citizens reluctant to pay to use expensive facilities in full when they can use standard hospitals at a discount thanks to their social health benefits.
Whilst the cost of using international hospitals could in theory go down if more were built off the back of local Chinese demand, and lead to an increase in the amount of foreign doctors employed in China, for expats it’s not so easy to simply go to a local hospital. However proper healthcare insurance coverage will help give you peace of mind and make sure that a trip to see a Western-trained doctor need not cost an arm and a leg – with no pun intended!!
Pick up the phone or email us today to get a quote and start your relationship with your family doctor in China.