What Expats should know about Healthcare in China

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医療イメージ,5人The healthcare system of Shanghai is finer when compared to second, third tier cities or rural areas, as it is a first tier city. That being said, the healthcare system is still perceived as limited by many expatriates. China being a vast country, the accessibility, care and the cost vary between different places.

Healthcare service

China’s healthcare can be described in one word as inconsistent. Rural areas are lacking basic medical facilities as compared to urban areas. In cities, the accessibility for medical services is much easier. China’s healthcare system is deficient. This is not the case with every facility, but many factors like subsequent queues, language barrier and slow service discourage many Westerners to seek medical treatment facilities in China. The methods of treatment in China vary, but it can be said that it is in accordance with Western standards.

Expats using public medical treatments in China should be prepared to face some oddness. Patients are advised and often required to keep their own medical records. Rural areas lack adequate care. In major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, international China hospitals are well maintained compared to rural areas. Some hospitals even have the facility of offering English speaking staff to Western patients that comes with a fee.


Speaking of fees, China hospitals are classified into complicated categories. Primary healthcare facilities in China are provided by local hospitals. A translator is recommended if you are looking for treatment in a Chinese Hospital. Arriving early would be convenient to register. You will be required to pay first, doctor’s fees and medication are charged separately. Keep in mind that though the cost is minimal, the level of service is very fundamental and limited.

Foreigner’s hospital in Shanghai consists of departments of large public hospitals. These departments have many English speaking Chinese doctors, along with few doctors who speak other languages as well, like Japanese and French. The average cost to see a doctor is approximately RMB 300 excluding tests and medication.

There are numerous International hospitals in Shanghai which offer hygienic environment and modern medical facilities with foreign doctors. The average consultation fee for a medical practitioner is RMB 700. Medication charges and necessary test fees are charged separately.

The fee for all the medical treatment services vary depending on the kind of hospital you choose in China. The language barrier is an important concern in Chinese hospitals, but a translator can help you overcome this when visiting any local hospitals. Though emergency services are provided, these are only efficient in urban areas and not as popular in rural areas.

Jeremy & Jacquelyn Carman

Jeremy & Jacquelyn Carman

Founders of havingababyinchina.com, Jeremy and Jacquelyn have four children. The first three were born in three different hospitals in China and the last was born at home in the US. Jeremy and Jacquelyn created havingababyinchina.com in 2009 after they found little information for foreigners having babies in China. They love connecting with other foreigners having babies. Learn more about them on the about page.



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