BioScience Trends. 2017;11(4):366-369. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2017.01198)
New medical education reform in China: Towards healthy China 2030.
Song PP, Jin CL, Tang W
On July 11, 2017, the State Council of China issued a bold plan to revolutionize medical education and promote collaboration between medical education and practice. The cornerstone of the plan is training more qualified medical professionals to improve public healthcare on the path to Healthy China 2030. According to this plan, a "5+3" training system will be instituted to train medical professionals in China, and top medical colleges will be encouraged to recruit more students. However, given the less-than-ideal professional status of Chinese doctors, the frequent incidents of violence against them, long working hours and a heavy workload, and an unsatisfactory income, attracting personnel to work in medicine and health care has become a challenge. Prior to the end of 2016, there were 3.19 million practicing (assistant) physicians in China, amount to 2.31 per thousand population. The average workload of physicians was 7.3 outpatient visits per day and 2.6 beds per day, and these figures are much higher for physicians working in tertiary hospitals. Studies have found that 78% of physicians work more than 8 hours a day and 7% of physicians work more than 12 hours a day, but the average annual income of physicians in 2015 was 77,000 yuan (about $12,360), in contrast to an average annual income of $294,000 for physicians in the United States. Medical humanities education is also emphasized by the new medical education reform to foster the humanistic spirts of medical students in order to improve public healthcare in China. In the face of a mindset that "medical technology comes first" and growing expectations among the public, public education is needed to provide the public with a more comprehensive view by explaining the limitations of modern medicine since "medicine is not a panacea". Additional efforts should be undertaken by the Government, organizations, physicians, patients, and the public to create a virtuous cycle of healthcare in China.