Pictured below, the group of 25 senior officials from departments at the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) and other medical institutions across 10 provinces and cities travelled to the University.


Their visit was part of a project supported by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office that gave health professionals the opportunity to learn about the UK’s system of healthcare delivery. 

Health experts from the University of Birmingham are already helping to improve healthcare for more than 300 million people in China - training more than 3,600 doctors in just two years.

Working across 20 provinces in China, a team from the University’s Institute of Applied Health Research has also trained more than 800 trainers in Chinese medical schools, as they work with health partners to tackle China’s serious shortage of GPs.

Guo Yanhong, NHFPC Deputy Director, said: “China and the UK currently share many similar challenges, such as an ageing population and rising overall demand of medical care. Both countries are striving to provide high-quality, accessible, cost-effective, and continuous care.

“There is lot of potential for mutual exchange and for both sides to learn from each other. The lessons we learn from this visit have implications regarding China’s next step - changing from previous thinking of illness at the centre, to a healthcare system focused on the patient, health, and continuity of care.”

The University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research Director, Professor KK Cheng welcomed the delegation to Birmingham. Professor Andrew Stevens, Chair of the Appraisal Committee at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), spoke to the group about health technology assessment (HTA).

Dr Martin Wilkinson, Director of GP Education, spoke to the visitors about GP training in the UK, before Professor Cheng explored the development of a tiered healthcare system, the central role of primary care, and other pertinent issues.

Professor Cheng said:  “We were delighted to welcome our guests from China to the University of Birmingham, as we continue to play our part in helping to improve primary healthcare in China and change the lives of millions of people.

“Training GPs to work within the evolving family doctor system can help China to deal with increasing pressures on its healthcare system. We are helping to set up a pipeline of well-trained GPs who will offer comprehensive care for families in communities across the country.”

Partnership work on training GPs started in April 2014 and the University is playing a pivotal role helping to deliver the part of China’s £85 billion Health Reform investment focused on developing primary care and training an extra 300,000 GPs by 2020.

The University also has close ties with health chiefs and academics in the south China city of Guangzhou and its experts are helping to develop six innovative family health centres. The centres introduce a new way of delivering healthcare to Chinese people – encouraging patients to see a GP, rather than going straight to a hospital for diagnosis and treatment.

They will develop and share best practice nationally, as well as providing opportunities for research, medical education and student exchange. 


For more information or interviews, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or  +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165. 

Notes to Editors

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Officials visited the University from the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) Departments of Primary Care, Medical Administration, Legal Affairs, Science and Technology Education, Structural Reform, International Exchange and Co-operation Centre, China National Health Development Research Center (CNHDR), and Talent Centre. 
  • They came from a range of Chinese cities including Beijing, Xiamen, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Liaoning, Qingdao, and Yunnan.