Health Tips When Moving to China



Healthcare facilities in China are easy to find with hospitals and clinics located in rural areas. However, if you are an expatriate looking for quality treatment then seeking healthcare facilities in foreign-run establishments is a good idea.

Here is a look at what to expect regarding healthcare in the country.

Healthcare in China

As a foreigner working in China, you will be provided with health insurance by your employer. If this is not the case, then it is advisable that you get your cover through international health insurance.

Cosmetic surgery and alternative treatments are not covered by insurance providers. Consider a provider who is linked to SOS International or subscribe to membership of the organisation. The organisation operates a 24-hour emergency hotline and is associated with over 150 hospitals in China. These hospitals have been approved for treatment of foreigners, and medical evacuation through military and commercial airlines can be arranged if required.


Are you covered? Free Health Insurance Quotes in China

Get FREE quotes from leading global Insurers to compare and find a plan suits you best.

Get Free Quote


Hospitals & Clinics

Public hospitals in city and district areas offer quality treatment. As a foreigner, you have access to these facilities at the same price as that paid by permanent residents of the country. Many of these hospitals have VIP wards (gaogan bingfang) where prices are quite high but not even half of those in the West, a small price indeed for specialised treatment with state of the art facilities. If you plan to stay in China for sometime then carry out your own research to locate a hospital where you would like to be treated should the need arise, Hospitals and clinics that are foreign run not only offer some of the best facilities but are also most reliable.

Medicines & Pharmacies

Pharmacies in China are marked with a Green Cross. Despite the fact that there are numerous pharmacies in all parts of the country, the problem is that very few of them have English speaking staff. If you are carrying a prescription from your home country, remember that medications cannot be dispensed with it in China. You will have to go to a Chinese doctor to get a new Chinese prescription. Medicine boxes carry the name of the medication in English. However, everything else is in Chinese.

It is possible to procure medications that you are used to at home at foreign pharmacies but be prepared to pay a premium price. You can also buy medicines from in-house pharmacies at hospitals.


You will be able to procure the names of qualified General Practitioners (GP's) from any of the listed clinics in the country. However asking your friends and colleagues is the best way of finding a suitable GP. GP's are your first point of contact in the Chinese healthcare system, and you can approach them for routine examinations and seasonal health concerns. They will direct you to a specialist should you need the services of one.

Medical care available in China is of a high standard, and the same is applicable to dental care, psychology and cosmetic surgery.

Emergency Services

In the case of an emergency, contact a foreign hospital as the ambulances belonging to public hospitals lack modern equipment. Besides this, their staff is not trained to handle emergency situations to the best of the ability.

Emergency Contact Numbers

Police: 110

Fire Brigade: 119

Ambulance: 120 or 999

Road Accidents: 122

Health Risks

Health risks in the country include respiratory infections, traveller's tummy (diarrhoea), endemic infections like dengue, malaria, bird flu, Hepatitis A and B and swine flu.