The National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine has recently released a set of construction standards for community-level or rural TCM departments as part of efforts to improve TCM services.
The TCM department at community healthcare centers or rural clinics should be no less than 300 square meters in size and contain at least three examination rooms, each no less than 10 sq m in size, as well as at least two treatment rooms taking up no less than 40 sq m in total.
The detailed requirements were laid out in a guideline released by the administration on March 15.
It stated that TCM doctors at a grassroots clinic should account for no less than 25 percent of its total number of physicians.
"The TCM department should also send at least one doctor to study at higher-level hospitals or enroll in tutorial programs every year," it said, adding that such hospitals should dispatch an experienced TCM doctor to provide guidance and give diagnoses at a grassroots TCM department at least once a week.
A TCM department at the grassroots level should be capable of delivering at least six kinds of services and be equipped with equipment necessary for TCM diagnoses, treatment and rehabilitation.
"TCM tools should be used to help rehabilitate patients recovering from strokes, physical injuries and other health issues," it added.
China aims to establish a TCM department at all community or township-level health institutions by 2025, and to encourage more advanced regions to improve infrastructure and services at 15 percent of departments in their jurisdiction, according to an action plan released by 10 government agencies in March last year.
"An increasing number of people are putting their trust in TCM therapies, prompting us to expand TCM departments," Zhou Lijin, head of the central health clinic of Shiyan township in Jiangsu province, said during an interview with the Modern Express newspaper.
Wu Hong, head of the TCM department at a community health center in Gaoyou city, Jiangsu province, said that for the past several years, 30 percent of the patients who come to the center visit his department.
"The TCM section here occupies about 800 sq m and has 11 departments capable of delivering six kinds of therapy, including acupuncture and moxibustion," Wu said.
Jiangsu plans to invest 100 million yuan ($14.6 million) into upgrading grassroots TCM departments between 2021 and 2025, according to the provincial health authority.
Each TCM department that meets these criteria will receive a one-off subsidy of 300,000 yuan, it added.