Shenzhen on Friday issued the management rules for general practitioners (GPs), which not only bring clarity to the career path of being a GP, but also set up independent systems for a GP’s general practice management, continuing education, ability assessment, and professional title evaluation.
The rules, which will become effective Feb. 1, are the first of its kind in China, according to the Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission. The rules will be applicable to GPs (including GPs practicing traditional Chinese medicine) who practice in community clinics in Shenzhen.
GPs are doctors who treat and diagnose a variety of medical conditions. As a new category of doctors in China, GPs are often regarded as the “gatekeepers” of residents’ health.
Statistics show that Shenzhen currently has 5,378 registered GPs, of which 4,378 are working in community health centers.
Although Shenzhen has introduced a series of policies and measures to help the development of GPs in the process of deepening its health-care reforms, which have achieved certain results, there are still some deficiencies.
Shenzhen has yet to establish a continuing education and professional ability evaluation system for GPs, thus it is hoped that a management system covering the full cycle of a GP’s practice will be set up through formulating the rules, said Li Chuang, head of the system reform and grass-roots health department of the city’s health commission.
According to the rules, Shenzhen will take the lead in the country in organizing and setting up a general practice expert committee to promote the top-level design for GP development.
Meanwhile, Shenzhen has pioneered reforms in the job management and performance appraisal of GPs, and has established an evaluation system of professional capabilities to guide GPs to continuously improve their expertise.
The health departments at the city and district levels will also build an information platform as well as an incentive mechanism for GPs, as per the rules. For instance, the credit record of GPs will be affected if they receive many complaints.
According to Lu Zuxun, professor with the School of Public Health of Huazhong University of Science and Technology Tongji Medical College, the rules have given full consideration to GPs’ practice registration, professional title registration and ability assessment, which provide support for Shenzhen to strengthen the cultivation of GPs.