Expats in Nanjing given helping hands via WeChat HospitalAid

Published:  14 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: China
Expats on WeChat are helping Westerners in Nanjing get the medical and surgical services they need.

Living and working as a Western, English-speaking expat in China is challenge enough, without having to worry about making yourself understood should hospital treatment be required. The resultant feeling of dread doesn’t help with your condition, and many expats have no idea at all how to cope with medical emergencies. Luckily for Nanjing’s English-speaking expat community, a new WeChat subscription page gives the answer to any health-related queries.

The site is deliberately designed to cover needs ranging from general enquiries through which local hospital is best for which condition to how to navigate the system whilst not speaking the Chinese language. The Hospital Aid service was the brainchild of Dr Leon, who’d been working in the city as a medical professional for ten years and fully understands the difficulties expats face when needing medical or surgical care.

Spurred to find a solution when a friend had a dreadful experience whilst attempting to use one of the city’s hospitals, Dr Leon’s WeChat site sends a message detailing symptoms to a subscription page. Once it’s received, a member of staff will reply with full details of the most suitable medical facility and how to make an appointment.
Staff are also happy to make the appointment for the prospective patient, leaving him or her to simply turn up at the hospital at the agreed time.

One expat female told of her experience of using the service, saying she’s alone in the city and had no idea how to proceed. A WeChat group representative arranged for a hospital appointment and a nurse was waiting at the given address. She was helped with translation and advised about follow-up treatment. At present , the service is being provided to expats on a non-profit basis, although if staff members are needed to accompany you to the hospital and translate for you, an appropriate fee is agreed. Dr Leon’s goal is to set up a clinic especially for expats, as there’s no such inexpensive provision as yet anywhere in the city.
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