Shanghai considers dedicated green channel for expat healthcare

Published:  15 Jan at 6 PM
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Expats in Shanghai may get a dedicated green channel for healthcare.

A Shanghai political advisor is calling for a dedicated ‘green channel’ to be made available to expats in the city as they’re having a hard time getting to see doctors due to language problems, cultural differences and high charges. Advisor Yang Jing is proposing the measure in order to help deal with those in the city’s expat community who’re afraid to seek medical assistance when needed.

Shanghai’s expat population is the highest of all Chinese cities, with 27 per cent of China’s entire permanent population believed to be foreign-born. Those needing medical treatment have serious difficulties coping with the Chinese language, and the high costs involved are a barrier to improving foreign patients’ health and quality of life. Yang Jing’s suggestion of a dedicated, fast and convenient green channel for expatriates could also attract more top expat talent to the city.

The scheme would include a pool of hospital staff with workable knowledge of a number of foreign languages, with a trial of the scheme in several local hospitals including provision of English language signs, special consulting rooms and English-speaking nurses in attendance. She believes medical staff could train in foreign languages, and remote consultations could be set up to cut expats’ costs. She’s also in favour of affordable state-sponsored health insurance for expats in the city as well as expat-aimed social security cards.

Should Yang Jing’s scheme be approved, expats living and working in Shanghai will be able to have confidence in the treatment offered as well as feeling their efforts on China’s behalf are appreciated. The political advisor’s suggestion is welcome, and it’s also at odds with several other Asian countries for which medical services aimed at expats are a cash cow to be exploited for excessive financial gain when and wherever possible.
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