Academic journal article IUP Journal of Business Strategy

A Comparative Study of the Chinese and British GP Systems

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Business Strategy

A Comparative Study of the Chinese and British GP Systems

Article excerpt

Introduction

People are a crucial element in a nation's economy and their health condition is one of the key ind-established and performing healthcare system can ensure a well-maintained health standard and effective and efficient medical service to the public (WHO, 2000; and Gu, 2006); it organizes and coordinates institutions, humans, finance and material resources for healthcare provision (Zhang, 2011).

If one sees the healthcare service system as a chain of different components, General Practitioners (GPs) are a very important knot within the chain. In many countries (WHO, 2000; and Allen et al., 2005), GPs (or family doctors) are the first medical contact or "gate keepers" in a majority of the circumstances when people need medical care; China is also encouraging the public to use GPs as their first medical contact, although it is not a compulsory requirement according to the research findings. In some countries such as the UK, the government is giving GPs more rights/responsibilities on issues besides medical treatment and consultation (Bawden and Agencies, 2010).

Thus, it is obvious that the GPs play an important role within the healthcare system and heavily impact the perception of the public towards the healthcare service's quality and effectiveness. There has been previous research on GP system and its functionality (Haq et al., 1996; Hogarth-Scott and Wright, 1997; Appleby and Jackson, 2000; Jing, 2006; and Zhang, 2011). However, with regard to the continuous change and evolution of GP services and problems occurring during the system's implementation and operations, the quantity of the research is rather small, especially the research as such focusing on China is even more scarce; although one can find literature on some elements of Chinese healthcare system, they are not exactly about GPs/GP system (Hsiung, 2003; Farquhar, 2005; Kahler, 2011; and Shobert, 2013).

Currently, the healthcare needs of Chinese public cannot be fully satisfied, particularly with the shortage of GPs (CNTV.CN, 2012). This circumstance prompted the Chinese government's policy of attracting foreign investment and expertise into the healthcare sector (Kahler, 2011; and Shobert, 2013). Meanwhile, with the well-developed British GP education/ training system (Haq et al., 1996; Wall et al., 2002; Cullen et al., 2004; Allen et al., 2005; and DOH, 2011) and the current encouragement from the government for healthcare service's globalization (BBC News, 2012), there will be a good match between UK and China on the supply and demand of GPs. And as China is a huge marketplace for businesses (Fetscherin et al., 2010), British (also other countries') healthcare service providers have a huge opportunity to expand to this marketplace. However, in order for British GP services to operate effectively in China, the current status of Chinese GP system, its similarity and difference to UK's, including the encountered problems, need to be fully understood.

Thus, the general framework followed by the research is based on a review of the existing literature. The research concentrates on two parts: (1) an investigation into Chinese GP system's history and current status; and (2) an exploratory comparison between British and Chinese GP systems.

Through the above two-part investigation, this research focuses on the following issues:

* What are the similarities and differences between the Chinese and British GP systems?

* What insights can be obtained from the understanding of the similarities and differences?

* What is (are) the key problem(s) faced by the two systems and the countermeasures?

The paper is organized as follows: First the paper introduces the developed describing aspects of a GP system, which are used as research dimensions, followed by the presentation of the historical development of Chinese GP system. Next the methodology is presented, then based on the collected secondary and primary data, a comparison between British and Chinese GP systems is made. …

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