Health care in Shanghai - Global Health Cover
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Health care in Shanghai

In essence Shanghai can surely boast of a good healthcare system at work and the sector China continues to get better. Here, the many Western-oriented medical facilities are frequented by the expatriate community. You can always check with your family doctor, your insurance company, as well as with colleagues and friends on the choice of facility that best caters for your family’s needs. It is common for individual expatriate community to host its own facility locally and the breadth and depth of services offered is usually a factor of the size of the community.

In addition to western facilities, traditional Chinese medical treatments (TCM) are also on offer here. This represents a complimentary alternative to Western medicine. There may be some western doctors who are inclined to dismiss this branch of medicine; the fact of the matter is that there are many Westerners who are convinced of their effectiveness, after taking them on.  One popular and ubiquitous service in Shanghai is massage. There is an abundance of traditional Chinese massage clinics though price and service level may vary tremendously, subject to the kind of training and experience the staff have. It is common for such clinics to offer TCM services, e.g. aroma therapy and cupping, but there are also others which specialize in manicure and pedicure.

Health care facilities in Shanghai

The popular destinations of choice among western expatriates are the city’s many Western staffed-and-run clinics by general practitioners or you could also head to designated foreigners' clinics in local hospitals, but be prepared to settle with less than ideal facilities and treatment. Not many foreigners' clinics are staffed by English-speaking personnel, especially the proficient type, so it would always be a good idea to have a Chinese speaker along lest you would get lost in all the Chinese dialog.

The quality of care is up to mark, and its cost may greatly vary. Take notice that all other types of hospitals will only treat foreigners when in emergency situations.

Private Hospitals and Clinics

Private Hospitals and clinics in Shanghai are also becoming more common-place in recent years. These are usually joint-ventures institutions. Your experience with these individual hospital or clinic may vary subject to the staff and equipment they have.

Foreign expatriates still tend to head home when it comes to more serious / complicated health issues. Alternatively, they can choose to go Hong Kong or Bangkok for treatment. The general consensus seems to be that when dealing with complicated health issues, the best option is to seek treatment abroad.

There is a proliferation of American-style medical centers here, capable of administering basic healthcare. The improvement on both service level as well as the number of facilities in service has been evident due to the ever expanding expats pool in Shanghai.


Shanghai does not enforce immunizations of any sort, but it is advisable to have those that deal with Hepatits A & B, Japanese encephalitis and rabies.  It would be ideal if you could take care of these at home before you set foot in Shanghai, otherwise, the local clinics can handle the job comfortably. To be sure, check if the immunizations you want can be obtained here.

As much as possible, make a list of all medicines you would want while in Shanghai and make effort to source for them in your home country as some may not be readily available over the counter. Legislation necessitates that all medicine shipments should be accompanied by import certificates though customs officers rarely check on those, at least according to the locals. Prescribed medication that you carry does not come into question but you need to show proof of prescription.


If you wish to have further information about the world health plan in china or a free quote, please contact one of our medical insurance advisors.

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