Beijing - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

The air quality can get quite bad at times. I haven't used anything besides the post medical office, but I hear good things. Nobody drinks the tap water. It's safe in theory, but very hard and tastes awful. I still brush my teeth and wash produce with it, but I don't drink it. We got a filtration showerhead for our shower. - Nov 2021

Medical care is good. Dental is hit or miss. Medical Evac to Singapore was only used when surgery or a major procedure was needed. During COVID that has gotten a lot harder. - Nov 2020

Medical care at Beijing United Hospital or Raffles is adequate, although many doctors have still not come back to Beijing after the outbreak. There is no regional Medevac capability, so serious issues will require a commercial ticket back to the US, which is only running once per week. Pollution is a serious concern, so be prepared to adjust your life to the air quality index. - Aug 2020

Western hospitals are quite advanced. There is also a robust MED office at the embassy. - Jul 2020

Western clinics and dental offices are used by most expats. - May 2020

Medical care is great but more expensive than the US. Lots of respiratory and allergy issues. I've heard people regularly break their feet because of the uneven roads and sidewalks. - Nov 2019

Care is is similar to the U.S. If you have prescriptions make sure they are available before coming. Some are not on the market here. - Oct 2017

Air quality. There is western-style medicine but most people I know here choose to avoid it. Others have had no problems. I've never been to the doctor here ad wouldn't go if I had the choice. The Chinese have a very, very different perception of how medicine should work. - Dec 2015

AQI. Medical care is decent. Large hospitals such as BJU and SOS offer pretty good care. Dental care is also available and isn't bad. - Apr 2015

Bad air pollution, especially in cooler weather when the coal is being burnt. You hope for breezy days as the winds blow all the pollution away. Based on my own experience, on days that have no winds, the AQI index reads anywhere from 150+ - 700+. The U.S. Embassy provides good air purifiers for every household. Some people suffer from headaches or respiratory problems. One guy in my section was in the hospital for 3 days due to the bad air. Myself, I got severe headaches during heavy pollution. - Aug 2014

The air quality is a major health concern. If you have any type of respiratory issues, it is likely to get worse here. There are quite a few large, modern expat hospitals here though and we have a fully staffed Med Unit. Medevacs to Singapore for something or another are not uncommon. - Jul 2014

As I mentioned, the air is the biggest one. My colleagues get constant colds, sinus infections, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, bronchial spasms... And because of the pollution, once you have something, it's hard to get rid of. - Jun 2013

Other than the major concerns of air quality and food contamination, I suppose the next biggest worry is being injured in a vehicle accident. There are no ambulances like in the U.S. -- only privately-owned vehicles providing a transportation-only (no trauma care) service. There are a few clinics/hospitals around with Western-trained medical staff. For anything beyond minor/routine care, I would recommend going somewhere like Seoul or Singapore. - Aug 2011

Pollution, hygiene, food issues are all concerns. Western medical care can be found at a price or with good expat insurance. I had a major surgery here and while they did a good job- culturally it was intense. They don't believe in pain medicine, modesty, privacy, ect. - Apr 2011

There is one JCI certified, international standard hospital in Beijing (United Family). It's very expensive, for some procedures even more expensive than US hospitals, but it's really your only option if you want the quality of care you'd expect in the US. A handful of international-standard clinics are also available, all much more expensive than local hospitals but more familiar environments. Local hospitals are very cheap, but 70% of people who show up there end up on an intravenous IV antibiotic drip (antibiotics are grossly overused here, to the point it's scary - you can buy hardcore ones over the counter at the pharmacy). I try to avoid setting foot in any medical facility since I don't want to be exposed to MRSA or other multi-drug resistant bacteria. The quality of care is OK, but if I could, I'd personally head back to the US, Japan, Hong Kong or Singapore for anything serious. Excellent quality and inexpensive dental and vision care are both available. Take advantage! - Jan 2011

Basic care is fine. If you go to BJU, you'll pay western prices, and their billing system leaves a lot to be desired. Several women have had real problems with OB care. Many folks are medevac'd for surgeries. But if you need stitches or an x-ray, you'll be in good hands. - Apr 2010

Air quality is the main health concern. There are a couple of expensive but good quality foreign hospitals here. - Jan 2010

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