HKU Shenzhen Hospital shuns mainland habits

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

Clinical audits and external accreditations will be introduced at the University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Hospital, as among 'things not conventionally done at mainland medical institutes', the university's dean of medicine said.

Professor Lee Sum-ping said the HKU medical faculty and the Shenzhen government had agreed to a 'level of flexibility' in managing the new centre with 'novel and creative' ideas.

The hospital, built and funded by Shenzhen, will be the HKU's second teaching hospital after Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam. Supported by the Ministry of Health, the ground-breaking project will be a showcase for national health care reform.

The hospital will open its first 600 beds in August next year. It will become fully operational, with 2,000 beds, in 2013. HKU vice-chancellor Tsui Lap-chee said earlier that the hospital, now known as Binhai Hospital, would be 'run in an HKU way'.

Lee said management of the new centre 'will not be compelled to conform with the conventional standards' of any mainland hospital.

The hospital would audit clinical performance by holding regular patient mortality and morbidity reviews - a standard quality assurance practice at all Hong Kong hospitals.

'If something happens to a patient, the peer groups will examine whether the patient has been properly taken care of,' Lee said. 'The doctors and nurses taking care of that patient will have to be answerable to a board of peers, not to a legal body, not to a bunch of angry patients, but to their peers who understand the scenario and limits of medicine.'

The new hospital will also introduce modern management practices for human resources, drugs prescriptions and financing.

Also, unlike the fixed pay scale for mainland hospital doctors, the HKU Shenzhen Hospital would have a flexible salary system to attract staff from around the world.

The faculty has yet to announce details of the project including the number of staff to be employed and how many students will study there.

Lee said the hospital's board of directors would discuss appointments, recruitments and selection of key leaders, at a meeting in April. The head of the hospital would be nominated and appointed by HKU. How often students could go north would be determined by the coming curriculum reform.

He said the Shenzhen government would set up an account to purchase health care services from HKU.

Transplants and primary care were among key areas to be developed at the centre.

Lee said setting up a headquarters in Shenzhen would help the medical school procure a substantial increase in research resources, as research funding in the mainland was 'enormous' compared with that in Hong Kong.

He agreed with staff opinions that development of medical schools had been suffocated by Hospital Authority management and policies.

'Here, many staffers have felt the constraints of space and resources. If we can capitalise on this [Shenzhen] collaboration, our professors and teachers will be able to use very generous allocation of space not only for basic bench research but also for clinical research,' he said.