BEIJING (Reuters) – China is urging some local governments to embark on pilot programmes next year to improve medical and care services for the elderly, with the goal of rolling out the scheme nationwide in 2023.
Of the 31 provinces, regions and municipalities in mainland China, 15 should launch their local pilot schemes for better medical and care services for the elderly next year, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement on Monday.
China has been mobilising resources to ensure that more vulnerable age groups are taken care of as society ages. In 2020, citizens aged 65 and above accounted for 13.5% of the Chinese population, compared to 8.87% registered in 2010.
A diminishing pool of working adults will also hamper China’s ability to provide and pay for high-quality services for older people.
The pilot programmes should aim to increase the number of medical facilities that cater for the elderly, for example by guiding some hospitals to transform themselves into care centres or supporting non-government organisations in setting up large-scale chains of care centres, the NHC said.
The pilots should also boost the number of medical professionals specialising in elderly care, provide at-home visits for old people with mobility issues, and improve the pricing system for medical and care services as well as how they can be paid for.
By 2023, there ought to be feasible experience from those pilots ready for nationwide adoption, the NHC said.
(Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)