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Private Healthcare Clinics Are Expensive. This One Tries To Be Different.

Shanghai is spoiled for choice when it comes to healthcare.
2020-11-17 09:00:00
Photos: Brandon McGhee
On the Radar is a SmartShanghai column profiling new restaurants, bars, and other new places we find interesting. Sometimes we stumble upon these places, and sometimes we are invited, but in both cases, we are never paid to write an opinion, rather, these are our honest first impressions, and not a formal review.

Fullerton Health


front Shanghai
Quick Take: Modern and (relatively) affordable healthcare chain from Singapore sets up in downtown.

What It Is: Fullerton Health is a private clinic from Singapore with more than 200 clinics across Asia Pacific, including Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and China. In October, they opened two new locations in Shanghai, one near the huge Starbucks Reserve and the other near Xintiandi. In the health world, Fullerton is still relatively young. Since starting about a decade ago, they have expanded rapidly by purchasing smaller healthcare and insurance companies in the region.

map Shanghai

Two of its co-founders, Dr. Michael Tan and Dr. Daniel Chan, have backgrounds in medicine and surgery, including high-level positions with Parkway back in Singapore.

Unlike Parkway in Shanghai, which offers a lot of specialist treatment, Fullerton is more geared towards general maladies and care. It’s the type of place you go when you have a cold or the flu, when you need a general checkup or a gynecological exam, or if you want to talk to someone about diabetes, heart disease or hypertension. It is not, and does not have, an emergency room.

downstairs waiting rm Shanghai

However, between the three clinics (the very first opened in Jing’an in 2018), they also offer dental care, dermatology, ENT, ophthalmology, stomatology, gastroenterology, and Traditional Chinese Medicine consultations.

Most notable, perhaps, is that general consultation fees are 500rmb, roughly half of what they may cost at other international clinics in Shanghai. They are still in the process of setting up direct billing with major insurance companies.

First Impressions: Clean, modern, and comfortable. The Weihai Lu clinic has 24 staff (half part-time), including an ENT specialist, a dentist, several general medicine and internal medicine practitioners, pediatrician Dr Cortez-Dy, gynecologist Dr. Xie, and an outpatient surgeon.

upstairs waiting rm Shanghai

There are dedicated consultation rooms for each department and some VIP single-person waiting rooms, a pharmacy (which stocks things like antihistamines, the contraceptive pill, cold and flu meds), a lab for blood and urine samples, a designated room to handle emergency medical situations, and an outpatient surgical area that can hand simple surgical treatments like the removal of cysts.

exam room Shanghai

I went to see Dr. Melody Zhou, a dentist, because Fullerton was offering a deal on check-up and teeth cleaning for 108rmb, usually 1,650rmb, and that’s hard to pass up. She giggled at my hideous grey fillings (courtesy of the UK’s National Health Service circa 1996), and asked me some routine questions in Chinese — a nurse translated.

I’d liken the experience to Renai’s International Department. The wait was short, receptionists speak good English and they offer you coffee or water while you fill out your forms.

Compared to the large clinics and hospitals like Jiahui, Parkway, and United Family, Fullerton has fewer international staff, which for me isn’t a big deal, and limited medical services. Maybe too limited. It’s not open 24/7, there's no maternity, mental health services, oncology department, functional ER, no x-ray machine to check for broken bones…

outpatient ward Shanghai

I’d say Fullerton is like the equivalent of my general practitioner’s clinic back home in the UK, in a shinier, happier package. It doesn't do everything but that's okay, because for the things it does do, it's much less expensive than what I’d pay to see a doctor in other international clinics.

Fullerton Health Lejing Clinic is located at 321 Weihai Lu, near Shimen Yi Lu / 富乐医疗集团 威海路321号, 近石门一路

For the full rundown of Fullerton Health clinics, click here.

Get the latest on Shanghai hospitals and clinics, how to get health insurance, where to get a check-up, and more via the SmSh Health & Wellness Directory