Shenzhen hospital 'to be run the HKU way'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 February, 2010, 12:00am

A new Shenzhen hospital, to be run 'the University of Hong Kong's way', would not sell drugs to patients at high prices to cover medical costs, the university's vice-chancellor Professor Tsui Lap-chee said.

And mainland doctors at the hospital would be trained up to 'HKU standards' - on a par with their peers working at Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong, Tsui said.

The Binhai Hospital, to be renamed later as the University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Hospital, will open its first 600 beds in August next year. It will become fully operational, with 2,000 beds, in 2013.

The non-profit making hospital will serve both public and private patients.

Owned and funded by the Shenzhen government, the hospital will be managed by the University of Hong Kong under the first cross-border collaboration of its kind.

The hospital's preparatory committee said that 300 beds in the hospital would be 'VIP' beds for private services.

It will be the university's second teaching hospital after Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, and also a showcase for the national health care reform.

The university's medical students will have an opportunity to receive training there.

The hospital has already set up an advisory committee chaired by Vice-Minister of Health Huang Jiefu.

Members include Tsui, Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk and officials from the Ministry of Health and the Shenzhen government.

Tsui said the University of Hong Kong was not interested in running a hospital but 'this is an opportunity we cannot miss'.

'The mainland medical and health care reform requires lots of test sites to develop an entirely new hospital system.

'We want to bring in the best of HKU medical teaching and research. HKU does establish a very good reputation in terms of its doctors and services. Queen Mary Hospital is well known and we are training a lot of doctors,' Tsui said.

Many mainland hospitals, with inadequate funding, have to rely on income from selling drugs to cover their costs.

Such practice raises ethical concerns over whether some procedures or medicines are necessary.

Tsui gave an assurance that the Shenzhen hospital would separate medical services and payment of drugs.

'At present, they are all mixed up in the mainland system ... It [the Shenzhen hospital] will be an HKU operation. It is an experiment for the country.'

The senior management of the hospital will involve HKU staff, while local doctors will also be recruited.

'We will use this project to train more mainland doctors in the HKU way,' Tsui said.

The hospital will also provide quality medical services for Hong Kong people in Shenzhen and elsewhere in Guangdong.

Many Hong Kong people living across the border return to their home city for medical services because of the quality and ethical services on offer in Hong Kong.

The number one rule for the project is that it will not use any Hong Kong taxpayers' money.

Tsui said the project needed support from the Hospital Authority but it would not be 'just another Hong Kong public hospital'.

Hong Kong medical students could in the future be exposed to various illnesses and patient profiles while being trained in the Shenzhen hospital.

'As a doctor, you want to see more different diseases. In Hong Kong, we only have very limited cases for students to study,' Tsui said.

'For research, we also have very limited sample sizes here in Hong Kong.'

Hospital Authority chairman Wu said the authority would provide expertise in hospital management to the University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Hospital.

The authority could transfer its well established systems to the Shenzhen hospital - such as the electronic patients' records system and computerised human resources and accounting system.

'This project can help the integration of health care services in the Pearl River Delta. There is a very busy human flow between Hong Kong and Guangdong and the demand for medical services of international standards is very high,' Wu said.

'It can also uphold standards of medical services on the mainland and promote exchange between Hong Kong and mainland doctors.'

Wu said the authority had been training hospital management executives for the mainland.