Differences in regional distribution and inequality in health-resource allocation at hospital and primary health centre levels: A longitudinal study in Shanghai, China

Enhong Dong, Shipeng Liu, Minjie Chen, Hongmei Wang, Li Wu Chen, Ting Xu, Tao Wang, Lufa Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives To analyse differences in regional distribution and inequality in health-resource allocation at the hospital and primary health centre (PHC) levels in Shanghai over 7 years. Design A longitudinal survey using 2010-2016 data, which were collected for analysis. Setting The study was conducted at the hospital and PHC levels in Shanghai, China. Outcome measures Ten health-resource indicators were used to measure health-resource distribution at the hospital and PHC levels. In addition, the Theil Index was calculated to measure inequality in health-resource allocation. Results All quantities of healthcare resources per 1000 people in hospitals and PHCs increased across Shanghai districts from 2010 to 2016. Relative to suburban districts, the central districts had higher ratios, both in terms of doctors and equipment, and had faster growth in the doctor indicator and slower growth in the equipment indicator in hospitals and PHCs. The Theil Indices of all health-resource allocation in hospitals had higher values compared with those in PHCs every year from 2010 to 2016; furthermore, the Theil Indices of the indicators, except for technicians and doctors in hospitals, all exhibited downward time trends in hospitals and PHCs. Conclusions Increased healthcare resources and reduced inequality of health-resource allocation in Shanghai during the 7 years indicated that measures taken by the Shanghai government to deepen the new round of healthcare reform in China since 2009 had been successful. Meanwhile there still existed regional difference between urban and rural areas and inequality across different medical institutions. To solve these problems, we prescribe increased wages, improved working conditions, and more open access to career development for doctors and nurses; reduced investments in redundant equipment in hospitals; and other incentives for balancing the health workforce between hospitals and PHCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere035635
JournalBMJ open
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 19 2020

Keywords

  • health-care resources
  • hospital
  • inequality
  • primary health center (PHC)
  • regional difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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