A splen­did train­ing ground for SAR’s med­i­cal staff

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FOCUS - By WILLA WU in Hong Kong willa@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Be­sides help­ing to lift med­i­cal de­vel­op­ment on the Chi­nese main­land, the Univer­sity of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hos­pi­tal (HKU-Shenzhen Hos­pi­tal) serves as a great lab and train­ing ground for Hong Kong’s fu­ture med­i­cal staff.

Hos­pi­tal Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Lo Chung-mau re­calls the first time he vis­ited the hos­pi­tal, lo­cated near Shenzhen Bay, in 2012, say­ing he was over­whelmed by its spa­cious­ness and ad­vanced sup­port­ing equip­ment. He calls the in­sti­tu­tion a “dream hos­pi­tal”.

The hos­pi­tal has 2,000 ward beds, with 1,200 oc­cu­pied, and the to­tal num­ber of beds is ex­pected to reach 3,000 by 2020. Hong Kong’s largest pub­lic hos­pi­tal, the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal, has more than 1,800 ward beds.

“The spa­cious struc­ture means the hos­pi­tal is ca­pa­ble of hous­ing more pa­tients. It helps med­i­cal stu­dents to learn by study­ing un­der vary­ing con­di­tions. Med­i­cal knowl­edge can be gained not only from text­books, but also real-life ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Lo.

The Univer­sity of Hong Kong will send its med­i­cal stu­dents to HKU-Shenzhen Hos­pi­tal for brief study stints. Lo says the ar­range­ment will en­rich stu­dents’ knowl­edge and broaden their hori­zons as they’ll be ex­posed to cases that are sel­dom seen or treated in Hong Kong.

The hos­pi­tal has been run­ning an an­nual pro­gram of­fer­ing free di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment to chil­dren with cleft lips and palates since last year. In this year’s pro­gram launched in May, some 40 chil­dren from across the main­land went un­der the knife for cleft lips and palates free of charge.

“Cleft lip and palate surger y is rarely prac­ticed in Hong Kong, with only about 10 cases a year. The num­ber is not enough to give proper train­ing for spe­cial­ists in plas­tic and re­con­struc­tive surgery in the city,” Lo says.

The HKU-Shenzhen Hos­pi­tal is also help­ing to bet­ter im­ple­ment the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy in care ser­vices for the el­derly.

With Hong Kong fac­ing a rapidly gray­ing pop­u­la­tion, it’s pro­jected that one in three Hong Kong res­i­dents would be aged 65 or above by 2040, a trend that could plunge the SAR into cri­sis aris­ing from chronic diseases.

“The HKU-Shenzhen Hos­pi­tal could help al­le­vi­ate Hong Kong’s pres­sure in pro­vid­ing timely med­i­cal ser­vices for the el­derly,” says Lo.

In Oc­to­ber 2015, the hos­pi­tal be­came the first on the main­land to ac­cept health­care vouch­ers pro­vided by the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment to el­derly peo­ple. This fa­cil­i­tates Hong Kong’s se­nior res­i­dents liv­ing in or near Shenzhen to get med­i­cal ser­vices.

Gov­ern­ment data show that some 1,230 el­derly peo­ple had used the vouch­ers at the hos­pi­tal by Jan­uary.

“With the launch of the G u a n g d o n g - Ho n g Ko n g - Ma­cao Greater Bay Area project, cross-bound­ary ex­changes would be more fre­quent and larger in scale. With these in­creased ex­changes, more se­nior cit­i­zens would choose to live in lower-cost main­land cities, where med­i­cal at­ten­tion is a ma­jor fac­tor for con­sid­er­a­tion,” Lo says.

“We started from zero and we’re now see­ing the re­sults. We’ ve made Hong Kong’s once closed med­i­cal sys­tem more open to change in re­la­tion to the main­land,” he says, adding that such ex­changes should be taken to the next level by the in­com­ing new Hong Kong ad­min­is­tra­tion.

With the sup­port of the Shenzhen gov­ern­ment, plus the open­ness and will­ing­ness to co­op­er­ate as shown by doc­tors and med­i­cal staff from across the bound­ary, Lo is con­fi­dent the in­sti­tu­tion will con­tinue to thrive in fu­ture, ex­ert­ing a sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence on the coun­try’s med­i­cal de­vel­op­ment.

The Univer­sity of Hong KongShen­zhen Hos­pi­tal serves as a pub­lic hos­pi­tal in Shenzhen but sticks to a Hong Kong man­age­ment style and hos­pi­tal cul­ture.

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