BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhua) -- China's health watchdog is to allow private investment into more public hospitals to make them more efficient so they can cope with the increasing demands of patients.
"Blind disposal or rush selling of national assets should be avoided," said Liang Wannian, a senior official with the National Health and Family Planning Commission and also vice director of the medical reform office under the State Council, China's cabinet.
Liang encouraged cities rich in public hospital resources to accelerate property reform of their hospitals. Liang said such reform should have a clear goal and be implemented step by step.
But Liang said reform should be on a pilot basis and public hospitals should still play a leading role in providing basic medical services.
Liang added that the value of state-owned assets should also be preserved and the interests of hospital staff be protected.
Earlier this month, authorities unveiled a package of healthcare measures, which consist of relaxing price controls covering non-public hospital services and encouraging the private sector to build health institutions.
The Chinese leadership has vowed to let the market play a decisive role and encourage the growth of medical institutions run by private companies or non-governmental organizations.
The Chinese mainland had about 5,400 private hospitals in 2008, which rose to 10,877 by the end of October 2013, according to official figures.