AimTo assess the regulation of the Chinese healthcare system in assisting a nationwide implementation of general practitioner (GP) services.BackgroundAlong with the perennial problems of unaffordable and inequitable healthcare, a rapidly ageing population and the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases pose challenges to the Chinese healthcare system. Recognising these challenges and to satisfy people's demands for more and better healthcare, China has initiated a plan, named 'Healthy China 2030', based on the findings from a two-year joint study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank Group (WBG) in collaboration with Chinese agencies. The Chinese healthcare plan, officially approved in 2016, is an attempt to use the people-centred, integrated care (PCIC) model recommended by the WHO and WBG to shape the Chinese healthcare system. In accordance with PCIC, China began the implementation of gatekeeping primary care by introducing GP services to local communities.MethodsA comparative analysis was employed to point out the importance of introducing GP services. A systematic assessment was carried out to evaluate the regulatory sector of the Chinese healthcare system, including a critical review of related legal norms and a theoretical exploration of external impediments (eg, cultural attitudes, government capacity and interest groups).FindingsResults demonstrate that the current regulatory sector of the Chinese healthcare system needs to be improved in order to assist the nationwide implementation of GP services and to strengthen its gatekeeping role. Major deficiencies include the problematic relationship between legal norms and health policies, the lack of effective and consistent new legislation, the low rate of social acceptance, and lack of support from agencies. To address those challenges, this paper recommends that preliminary efforts be devoted, in part, to two changes in the legal structure: enacting a specific law, and creating an independent regulatory oversight body.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Chinese healthcare system reform, gatekeeping primary care, GP services, legislation, regulatory strategies
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1463423618000555, hdl.handle.net/1765/110080
Journal Primary Health Care Research and Development
Citation
Liu, Z. (Ziyu), & Buijsen, M.A.J.M. (2018). Legal reflections on the evolving role of general practitioners in China's primary care: An assessment of regulatory strategies. Primary Health Care Research and Development. doi:10.1017/S1463423618000555