Chinese public hospitals:
Some public hospitals (large facilities) in Tier 1 megacities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu have two different departments: one is intended for local residents, who are covered by Chinese social insurance while the other one is dedicated to foreigners and VIPs who pay their consultations themselves or are covered by a commercial health insurance plan. Consultation fees are not the same depending on the department consulted: around RMB 50-100 for a consultation in the case of a local resident and up to RMB 1,300 for an expatriate covered by a commercial insurance plan.
Please note that consultations are not conducted in the same way in the two departments: it is not unusual to see locals enter a room without knocking on the door and even take part in your consultation. As we are not used to such practices, we may find them disrespectful, but this is totally natural for Chinese people.
This would not happen in the VIP/International department where medical confidentiality is respected. Furthermore, doctors often speak English.
Chinese medical centers for foreign people (international facilities):
There are many ultra-modern international private facilities intended for foreigners who can either afford this type of medical care or are covered by health insurance. Prices of consultations are much higher than those in public hospitals but the hospital environment is more welcoming and provides international staff.
Doctors have the same expertise level as those in public hospitals but consultations are more Western-inspired and much more tailored to expatriates.
Emergency services in public hospitals in Tier 2 and3 are open 24 hours a day, but they are often filled to capacity with local residents. In very large facilities, you can find 200 people waiting before you. As for expatriates or VIPs, waiting times are shorter due to higher prices. The same applies to private medical centers.