Hong Kong - Hong Kong University-Shenzhen Hospital – a model for mainland health care reform

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Publication date: 4 October 2011

Keywords

Citation

(2011), "Hong Kong - Hong Kong University-Shenzhen Hospital – a model for mainland health care reform", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 24 No. 8. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijhcqa.2011.06224haa.008

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Hong Kong - Hong Kong University-Shenzhen Hospital – a model for mainland health care reform

Article Type: News and views From: International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Volume 24, Issue 8

Keywords: Healthcare reform, Healthcare management, Healthcare quality improvement models

The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between Hong Kong and the mainland has delivered the benefits to the city of more integration. But resistance from various interests and outdated regulations on the mainland have slowed progress in an area of big potential – co-operation in services. As a result there has been more talk than action about greater access for our doctors, lawyers and other professionals. That is not only a loss to the Hong Kong people, because professional services are one of the city’s strengths, but arguably the mainland’s too. An example is the health sector, where the mainland authorities have long recognised the need for outside help to boost medical reform.

There is reason to hope, however, that a new hospital due to open in Shenzhen in November will prove an example of how co-operation between Hong Kong and the rest of the Pearl River Delta region can make the best use of Hong Kong services to the benefit of both sides. Subject to final agreement expected, the University of Hong Kong Shenzhen hospital, built and funded by the Shenzhen government and supported by the Ministry of Health, will become the university’s second teaching hospital after Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam. This will clear the way for Hong Kong surgeons to spend time there passing on their skills to mainland colleagues in liver transplants, in vitro fertilisation, spinal surgery and treatment for heart disease and cancer.

The groundbreaking project can also be a showcase for badly needed reform of health care on the mainland, which remains an exception to the success of China’s economic reforms. Despite a huge injection of extra funds in recent years, health services still badly lag demand. They are effectively rationed by long queues, poor service and over-charging by doctors and hospitals.

Apart from continuing to invest more in the sector, the central government needs to accelerate efforts to encourage private and joint public-private hospitals in a bid to introduce advanced management and improve access to modern technology. This might be an avenue for outside investment and participation. The HKU-Shenzhen plan can therefore be a good clinical model and a useful experiment in medical reform. The development of such hospitals could also relieve the pressure on the hospitals from the many Hong Kong people living in Shenzhen and other parts of the Pearl River Delta, and from mainlanders who can afford to come to Hong Kong for treatment.

The opening of the hospital has been delayed as both sides work out its management model. It is yet to be disclosed who will be in charge and how responsibilities will be divided. Hopefully, this time vested interest and red tape will not be allowed to come before health care reform and the best interests of patients.

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