Healthcare and medical care
When travelling to China, you should take out comprehensive travel insurance. Medical care services comparable to Western standards are very expensive in China, and are provided mainly by foreign hospitals. Repatriation is expensive and difficult to arrange without insurance. Hospitals often require advance payment in cash. There are very few medical services, such as private practices, available outside hospitals. The standard of public hospitals varies and waiting lists are usually long.
In Shanghai, Guangzhou and a few other of China´s large cities, there are international clinics whose doctors are foreigners or Chinese citizens who have studied abroad. Chinese hospitals have their own practices, which patients only discover when they arrive.
Ambulance availability and level of equipment varies. As a tourist, you may have to rely on a taxi or other form of transport to get to a hospital.
The staff at the United Family Hospitals (Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tianjin) speak English and a number of specialised medical cares services are available. The hospitals also have an intensive care unit and maternity ward. In serious cases, it may be necessary to resort to Peking Union Medical College Hospital or the services of the wards for foreigners at China-Japan Friendship Hospital. It is possible to manage in English at Peking Union Medical College Hospital. Dental services are available at the hospitals mentioned above.
Doctors in China only rarely speak English, therefore it is easier to communicate through an interpreter. There is only limited availability of healthcare services outside large cities. The level of training of staff in rural clinics varies and the availability of medicines and equipment is limited.
Be aware that medical records in state hospitals are often incomplete and are seldom filed. If you are treated in a public hospital and require documentation concerning your treatment, for example, for follow-up care in Finland, ask the staff for this at a sufficiently early stage.
If you are travelling to China to work for longer than six months, you must join the Chinese social security system, which also includes medical insurance.
Sources: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, U.S. Department of State: A service of the Bureau of Consular Affairs