Basic healthcare in Shanghai is readily available, but complex issues are best handled abroad. Basic health care is perfectly adequate in Shanghai, taking on the form of American-style medical centers. The good news is that the quality of services and availability are improving all the time as the number of expats increases.
The best way to find the right health care provider for you is by listening to recommendations from friends and colleagues. Then, establish a relationship before an emergency situation occurs. Inform your employer and friends of your preferred choice and set up an emergency plan for you and your family which you should also mail home to a trusted friend or family member.
Expatriates are generally treated at one of the city’s Western-staffed and managed clinics by generalists or at designated foreigners’ clinics in local hospitals, but facilities and treatment are limited at both. Foreigners’ clinics at Chinese hospitals are supposed to have English-speaking personnel, but usually the level of English is poor and you should bring along a Chinese speaker to make sure you understand what needs to be done. The care itself is usually competent and very inexpensive compared to Western clinics and the West.
There are a number of private hospitals and clinics in Shanghai set up as joint-ventures. Quality, education and experience vary greatly as do equipment, services and medications available. For more serious / complicated issues, patients usually return to their home countries or seek treatment in Hong Kong or Bangkok. Generally speaking, complicated health issues are best handled abroad.
Hospitals without designated foreigner’s clinics will treat foreigners, but only in emergency cases. Again, we don’t recommend you to use one of these hospitals because of communication problems, crowds of patients and different habits customs.