HUNDREDS of doctors, nurses and anaesthetists learned new sight-saving skills when the new Orbis flying hospital, financed partly through donations from Hong Kong, made its maiden flight to Beijing. President and executive director of the flying eye hospital Oliver Foot said thousands of patients had benefited from the journey to China. He said it would not have been possible without the support of Hong Kong people and the Bank of China (Hong Kong office). The new DC-10 flying hospital flew to Beijing on July 23 and will stay there for another week before returning. In the past fortnight, a total of 150 patients had been examined by Orbis' doctors and 46 patients had received surgery on board the plane. More than 280 doctors from different parts of China, 18 nurses and 50 anaesthetists had participated in the programme. Meanwhile, Orbis has signed a five-year agreement with the Chinese Government during which the charity will send doctors, nurses and technicians to different cities in China. Mr Foot said there are seven to eight million blind people in China and five million could see again if they received proper treatment.