HKU staff set for Shenzhen role

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 June, 2012, 12:00am


Seven professors from the University of Hong Kong will head sections at the university's Shenzhen hospital, due to open next month, the hospital's honorary chief executive announced yesterday.

Dr Leong Che-hung, who is also the university council chairman and an Executive Council member, said this would not lead to manpower losses at hospitals in Hong Kong as the university would be able to recruit extra medical staff in Hong Kong to compensate. The professors also work in hospitals in Hong Kong, including the university's teaching hospital Queen Mary, Pok Fu Lam, but each affected university department will be allowed to recruit at least three extra professors, funded by the Shenzhen government.

The hospital in Shenzhen's Futian district will be the largest public hospital in Shenzhen with a 3.5 billion yuan (HK$4.3 billion) investment by the municipal government.

After several delays, the hospital has scheduled its trial run for July 1, starting with outpatient services including health checks and family medicine. It would later provide services in five specialities on top of primary care, and will ultimately have 2,000 beds, Leong said.

He was still worried about differences in culture and practices between Hong Kong and the mainland - including corruption and sourcing of transplant organs - but hoped they would be solved in the trial period.

The University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital, funded by the Shenzhen government and managed by the university, has recruited 12 service chiefs, of which seven are the veteran professors. They include head of surgery Dr Lo Chung-mau and head of microbiology Professor Yuen Kwok-yung.

The dean of the university's faculty of medicine, Professor Lee Sum-ping, compared them to visiting conductors helping an orchestra of skilled musicians interpret pieces. 'They will not be there to teach mainland doctors how to do, but how to think,' he said. 'We want to bring to them the workflows and professional conduct [of Hong Kong hospitals].'

Leong said that in an effort to prevent corruption it was written into staff contracts that receiving bribes from patients - a common practice in mainland hospitals - would lead to immediate expulsion. But policies on such matters as transplant organ sources had yet to be worked out.

Leong added that the seven professors would see patients at the new hospital, but their main responsibility would be to transfer values.

They would remain as university staff, splitting their time between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

Less than two weeks from the opening, Leong said the hospital was not yet ready for site visits. 'We are afraid there may still be uneven floorboards and piles of refuse,' he said.

Asked if the hospital was ready to start, Leong said services would be launched stage by stage, starting with those regarded as low risk.

The hospital will receive about 300 patients a day in the first three months, with 80 beds available as back-up. Outpatients will be charged 200 yuan a time.

Lee said the hospital had so far recruited 28 doctors, about 100 nurses and 160 other staff on the mainland, and planned to have 500 to 600 staff by the end of the year. Once the new hospital was running smoothly, medical students at the university would have placements there.