A splendid training ground for SAR’s medical staff
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.