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Press Release for Media Briefing by the Shanghai Municipal Government on August 22, 2019

August 23, 2019

The Information Office of Shanghai Municipal Government held a press conference today (August 22). Vice Mayor Peng Chenlei briefed the city's continuous efforts in developing the “five-in-one” social pension service system. Zhu Qinhao, director of Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, and Jiang Rui, the deputy director, attended the conference and answered questions from reporters.

By the end of 2018, the number of elderly residents in Shanghai had reached 5,032,800, accounting for 34.4 percent of the total registered population (about 23.5 percent of the resident population); the number of senior citizens aged 80 and above was 816,700, accounting for 16.2 percent of the elderly population. Shanghai's average life expectancy has reached 83.63 years, ranking among the top in the world. The longevity of the elderly is the result of economic and social development. At the same time, how to make the elderly enjoy their old age and happiness has become a new challenge and new topic. In recent years, with cooperation among all departments of the city and innovation in various districts, Shanghai has been continuing to promote the "five-in-one" social pension service system on the basis of deepening the "9073" elderly service structure, and the senior service work has made positive progress. First, the total supply of aged care services continued to increase. By the end of 2018, the city had built 712 senior care institutions, totaling 144,000 beds, which initially eased the rigid demand for bed. At the same time, Shanghai focused on building a “hub-type” comprehensive nursing home that integrates functions, such as daycare, full care, food support and medical care, into a service center. So far, 180 such nursing homes have been built; 155 homes for short-term residence and care service have been built, achieving full coverage of towns and urbanized areas. Secondly, the layout of the elderly care service continued to be improved. Shanghai attaches great attention to the balanced development of urban and rural care services, focuses on making up for shortage in rural senior services, and implements standardization reforms for weak rural elderly care institutions. It promotes mutually beneficial elderly care in rural areas. By the end of 2018, 1,000 rural neighborhood spots have been built, actively attracting social capital to participate in old-age services. At present, the number of senior nutrition institutions run by private capitals reaches 352 (49.4%), and the structure of elderly services is increasingly multi-level and diversified. Thirdly, the quality of senior services continues to improve. Since 2018, the comprehensive pilot long-term care insurance system has provided professional care services for the elderly who have been assessed as qualified, and more than 300,000 elderly people have benefited. To solve the social “key issues” of providing care services for the elderly with cognitive impairment, Shanghai has put the reconstruction of 1,000 cognitive care beds into the municipal government's projects for two consecutive years, and actively promote the development of care system for the elderly with cognitive impairment. The city has effectively enhanced the supervision of the aged care service industry, and included it in the 10 service industry satisfaction assessments for two consecutive years; the satisfaction rate has steadily increased. It is worth mentioning that the city has also introduced a pension-counseling system, and established more than 250 community pension-counseling spots to provide services such as policy consultation, resource links and personalized pension scheme for the elderly; the Shanghai Care Service Platform has been launched, making the old-age service information easily accessible for the elderly.

Currently, Shanghai has seen an accelerating issue of an aging society, with related services facing new challenges. To do a good job of senior care, the city should stick to the people-centered principles guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. It targets due responsibilities and services for everyone, but will keep the bottom line for a quality growth of senior care services, featuring highlighted focus, improved policies and proper expectations.

On March 29, 2019, the State Council published the opinions on accelerating senior care services. The Shanghai government followed by releasing the Plan of Deepening Senior Care Services (2019-2022). The plan, which fully implements the requirements by President Xi Jinping when he visited Shanghai in 2018 and gave an important speech on senior care as well as the opinion by the State Council, is an action guide for Shanghai’s senior care services in the next four years and an active response to people’s expectation for a good life.

Shanghai’s senior care services should realize “three growths” in the next four years.

First is the growth of quantity. There should be a notable breakthrough in the quantity of benchmark senior care services to build up a comprehensive network, especially the “doubled amount” in two indexes. One index is the number of comprehensive community-based senior care service centers. There will be at least 400 such centers to realize one “doubled amount” on the basis of full coverage of communities. In the construction of such centers, the city will focus on standardization. A guide will be released this year for community-based senior care services to standardize the construction of senior care service centers and keep a good growth balance in urban and rural areas. The city will also highlight comprehensiveness of such centers. They should provide one-stop services that can integrate all functions to present its comprehensiveness; it should connect professional senior care service agencies and ordinary families to allow senior citizens to have all kinds of services like day care, day and night care, catering services and bathing services without having to step out of their home.  

Another index is food service in the community for the elderly. It is necessary to “double” the total amount of the existing food service area, reaching 1,600 units with no less than 400 canteens for the elderly in the community. The supply capacity is expected to reach 5 percent of the total citizens’ population aged over 65 years in the city. The local government is going to achieve the goal that the elderly can get close to the affordable and delicious hot meal. From this year, Shanghai will add 200 food service places annually to ensure a balanced distribution of the food service area. At the same time, it will enrich the supply side, optimize the food distribution system, strengthen food safety management and allow the elderly to eat safe and healthy food.

The second is the growth of quality. The city will focus on quality improvement and enhance its services for the elderly from "existing" to "excellent," with focus on the aspects of "people" and "management."

People, mainly refer to the team of caregivers. Pensioning is a technical job which requires professional skills, so building a team of caregivers with expertise and skills is a must. The current team is relatively weak with low social status, low income, low academic qualifications, high liquidity, high occupational risk and old age. It is urgent to accelerate the establishment of the team. The city will make great efforts to implement and advance relevant work.

In the future, Shanghai will focus on three aspects:

First, the city will promote “four unified standards” to further accelerate the professionalization and sustainable development of the caregivers. The “Four unified standards” refer to a unified comprehensive evaluation standard, a unified professional skill standard, a unified service fee payment system, and a unified database of caregivers. These standards are used to realize the integration of various types of personnel engaged in care services, in order to further promote professionalism and sustainable development.

Secondly, the city will do everything possible to expand the scale of pension staff. The government will actively promote the establishment of nursing care and service in relevant institutions in Shanghai to accelerate the cultivation of talent. In 2017, Shanghai Open University cooperated with Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau to launch the city's first “service and management for the elderly” professional college class for frontline care workers. In the future, the city will aim to have more similar majors. The government will also study incentive policies such as entry subsidies and job subsidies to attract and retain more service talents for the elderly.

Thirdly, the city will improve the respect for the team of caregivers in the society. The hard work and dedication of the caregivers should be respected by the whole society. Huang Qin, a nursing care trainer who works at the No. 3 Social Welfare Institution in the city, was named "Shanghai Standout" last year. This is the first caretaker awarded in the industry in the city and in the country, demonstrating the pursuit of excellence in nursing care.  

Management refers to strengthening industry regulation and supervision.

The city will seek to improve the quality and level of elderly services by supervision and relevant regulations. The focus is to create “three major mechanisms”:

The first is to speed up the daily monitoring system for the quality of elderly services. Starting this year, the daily monitoring of service quality will be comprehensively carried out in the city's care institutions for senior citizens. This monitoring has designed 90 evaluation indicators, which will be monitored by third-party agencies and the results of the monitoring will be made available to the whole society.

The second is to speed up the improvement of the standardized management mechanism for elderly services. Shanghai's senior care services have always paid close attention to the industry standards. In the next step the city will further improve and revise the existing standards for elderly care services. At the same time, the application of standards will be strengthened to achieve full coverage, so as to continuously improve the quality of services.

The third is to speed up the establishment of a joint disciplinary mechanism that is based on credit rating. Last year, the city introduced measures for the collection and use of information on the those poorly managed elderly care institutions. The next step is to focus on building a mechanism of to reward those are trustworthy and with relatively high credit ratings while to punish those with illegal practices, and establishing a “trustworthy list” and “blacklist” system.

Shanghai is planning to publish a batch of "blacklists" during the onth for Elderly Care this year around the Double Ninth Festival in October, which falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. Those with irregularities or violating social credit would be put on the "blacklist," such as those that are found with abusing or bullying seniors, serious safety accidents and conducting illegal financial activities. They will be under strict investigation and would be dealt with relevant laws and regulations. The lists will also be made public on a regular basis every year.

Third is the growth of efficiency. The city will be aiming at sustaining the vitality of the whole industry, and to fully unleash the potential of elderly services by fulling leveraging the vitality of all kinds of players from various industry sectors. It will mainly cover three areas:

The first is to vigorously promote public construction and private operation. In the future, new government-funded or renovated elderly service facilities will, in principle, be outsourced to third-party service providers and private institutions to improve operational efficiency and service quality. The city is urging that all districts to implement the work of with a more open mind to put the operation of elderly houses in the hands of private enterprises.

The second is to effectively create an open field for all kinds of elderly care services. The city would also support all types of business entities to enter the elderly care service market. It would also allow overseas-funded elderly service providers to enjoy the same treatment as those funded and operated by domestic institutions in many aspects such as the setting up and operation of profitable elderly care houses.

The third is to achieve new breakthroughs as for the cooperation within the Yangtze River Delta regarding elderly care services. The focus is to carry out mutual recognition and exchange of standards, qualification and credit-rating mechanism for elderly care services providers in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces and Shanghai. The city will establish mutual recognition and promotion of high-quality and trustworthy brands for elderly care services, so that one that already gains certification in one province would automatically be recognized by administrative authorities in other provinces or cities so that a new format of coordinated development would be achieved in the Yangtze River Delta region.