On May 11th 2017, The University of Edinburgh’s China healthcare team received a prestigious Shenzhen Government ‘Three Famous Programme’ award to support the establishment of a cutting-edge diabetes research and treatment centre, based on Scotland’s renowned model for managing long-term conditions.
The International Diabetes Centre (IDC) at Shenzhen People’s Hospital in southern China – supported by the University of Edinburgh – aims to deliver world-leading medical education, research and patient care.
The IDC, which will occupy three floors of the 2,400 bed hospital, was formally launched and scheduled to be operational by November. It will be based on Scotland’s healthcare model for managing patients with chronic conditions.
An international team will develop a new diabetes care and management model with the ambition to scale the system across the city. The model will be underpinned by a strong educational strategy, registry-based care that is supported by a powerful informatics platform and multi-disciplinary care teams.
The University will provide training, mentorship and research guidance alongside its strategic partner Hua-Xia Healthcare which is highly experienced in delivering on-site hospital management in China.
Shenzhen, a city of 20 million with close ties to Edinburgh, is a technology innovation hub. Although it is one of China’s wealthiest cities, its healthcare services have lagged behind economic development and a rapid rise in chronic diseases such as diabetes threatens to undermine its economic success. Tackling the disease is a priority for the city’s government.
An estimated two million people in Shenzhen have diabetes. Each year, the diabetes and endocrinology department at Shenzhen People’s Hospital receives 100,000 outpatients and admits more than 2,000 patients with complications such as diabetic foot ulcers.
In China, awareness of diabetes is low and often patients seek help only in response to a health crisis. The authorities are keen to develop a new clinical service model to target diabetes.
Scotland has already demonstrated the power of this approach to transform diabetes outcomes, with a 40 per cent reduction in amputation rates and blindness, according to research published in the American Diabetes Association journal.
The Shenzhen IDC is the first project developed under the University’s partnership with Hua Xia Healthcare, a Hong Kong-listed hospital management and investment company which has been working with the Edinburgh team since November 2016.
Professor Andrew Morris, University of Edinburgh Vice Principal and Professor of Medicine, said: “With Shenzhen People’s Hospital, we have a major, highly respected local partner. Our vision is to support the development of a world-class diabetes centre and quickly grow an electronic patient database and bio bank for international research purposes.”
Professor Qiu Chen, President of the Shenzhen People’s Hospital, said: “This collaboration was initiated and is supported by the Three Famous Project of Shenzhen, a very ambitious initiative to bring talent and expertise in healthcare from around the world to the city. We are truly delighted to work with Professor Morris and his team in the field of treating diabetes and look forward to establishing an innovative service model for the city.”
Dr David Jiang, CEO of Hua-Xia Healthcare, said: “The launch of the IDC marks the beginning of our strategic focus on the treatment and service of rapidly growing chronic diseases such as diabetes in China. For the past 10 years, Hua-Xia has made tremendous efforts to build and operate general hospitals in areas where they are needed. As the landscape of healthcare in China has quickly shifted to address urgent needs and battle special chronic diseases, Hua-Xia Healthcare has repositioned, together with world-leading universities like the University of Edinburgh, to develop innovative service models and expertise to fight diabetes and renal disease. Last year, we set up a joint education, management and research institute with the University of Edinburgh and this IDC will be the first solid outcome of many to result from this partnership.”