The University of Edinburgh’s China healthcare team was recognised as Business – Education Collaboration of the Year at the inaugural China Britain Business Council China – Scotland Business Awards on Thursday evening for its International Diabetes Centre project with Shenzhen People’s Hospital in Guangdong Province, southern China.

Edinburgh International Investments China Scotland award winner

In November 2016, the University formed a novel partnership with Hua Xia Healthcare, a Hong Kong listed hospital management company, to pursue opportunities in China’s healthcare market, combining forces to develop a unique international offering of products and services, drawing on expertise and excellence in training, education, research, data science, health services management and in-depth knowledge of doing business in China.

The collaboration secured its first project six months later to support the establishment of an International Diabetes Centre (IDC) within Shenzhen People’s Hospital, supported by a

Shenzhen Municipal Government ‘Three Famous Programme’ funding award.

“The hospital’s current out patient service sees 80,000 patients per year,” explained Professor Andrew Morris, University of Edinburgh Vice Principal. “In partnership we are introducing a new service model underpinned by a bespoke informatics platform modelled on Scotland’s world-leading diabetes care management system, and a university-led staff training and education programme.”

A key element of this project is upskilling local clinical staff including IT-Data training and strengthening research capabilities. Planning is also at an advanced stage to refurbish three floors of the hospital for a new 5,000 sq m IDC planned for opening later in 2018.

The University of Edinburgh-Hua Xia Healthcare academic-industry collaboration is a unique partnership, where industry is fully funding an academic partner to develop healthcare projects in China, with a sustainable delivery model.

“Rather than replicate traditional academic models of establishing joint educational programmes or research collaborations with other universities, The University of Edinburgh and Hua Xia Healthcare’s strategy is to combine quality training and education services with establishing research capabilities alongside clinical services within a hospital or major clinic. This way they make a visible direct impact on patients in the local population,” said Dr David Jiang, CEO, Hua Xia Healthcare.

China’s healthcare sector is challenged by resource and skill shortages and an increase in common diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. For the Chinese Government, reform of the healthcare sector is both a social and strategic priority.

China’s healthcare spending in 2015 was £411 billion. This is expected to reach £750 billion by 2020.  The Government’s reforms present international players with new business opportunities in this market.

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