7000 beds. Henan province. Nĭ hăo.

My hospital experience as an employee is Swiss based. Size: some 300 beds & 1000 employees, a public hospital in Zurich. This time I searched for the most hospital beds available under «one roof» worldwide for my blog series about hospitals. And I landed in China.

In the provincial capital Zhengzhou, Henan, China I found this mega or supersized hospital: The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University (FAHZU). The mega hospitals – there are some in action, some rumours, some wild assumptions about their figures. More here – original website. By the way, Henan is an area of 94 million residents.
> 3 minutes explainer video about Henan medical care.
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To make it short, here come the numbers (week in china) – gosh 23 times more beds than «my Zurich example». But at least a city with «Z» too.
– Newly built opening September, 2016 – construction costs $374.77 million
– 7’000 beds – increasable to 10’000 beds in the future (2’000 beds in 2008)
– Staff: 6,718, including 723 specialists with a doctoral degree
– 310’000 admissions a year
– 196’000 surgical operations (largest number in China) a year
– Record-braking one day outpatients treatment: 21’600
– 4.26 million outpatients a year
– The new medical building from 2012 alone: 120’000 square metres, 49 wards, 100 operating theatres (some 500’000 square metres in total)
– Turnover increased from Rmb680 million (Renminbi)/$109.7 million in 2008 to Rmb7.5 billion/$1.2 billion in 2014
– A lot of cutting edge equipment including a da Vinci surgical system installed in 2014

A personal remark about the staff. Compared to Switzerland – University hospital of Zurich = 7800 employees from 87 nations care for some 950 beds. Seems there is much more personel in Switzerland.
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The history of this hospital goes back to 1928. However the personal service seems to be on a very high level – check-in looks like the one on an airport.
– Lowest mortality rate in China: 0.14 percent
– Country average on mortality rate is 0.37 percent in 2013 (top 30 hospitals)
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The patient assistants in uniform remind me sadly about a project I was involved in Switzerland – to have «Vip personal» installed for premium insured patients. It was rejected by the hospital management almost with the remark «ridiculous». Even if this hospital has a mega campus and patients need informations and directions in this crowded province – smaller hospitals would benefit from such a warm welcome in the more and more complex hospital world for sure as well.
19817da3-6678-492c-9f3b-afd3b46af9da da Vinci Surgery

Coming back to this incredible profitability. This succes opened up the discussion about the hospital to be one of the most controversials in China. The rumours: the staggering revenue numbers show that the hospital expanded at the cost of burdening local patients with high medical expenses or research has been pushed aside in search of volume.

Gou Jianjun, director of the hospital’s medical department: «Driving great growth inevitably attracts controversy» (China Economic weekly).
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I am sure that it is not only here, that big, huge and mega hospitals will confront the issue of being profitable. Whatever the details are, even in «little» Switzerland there are new questions in line with the first mergers of hospitals to build groups or hospitals becoming big with different locations.Lets not forget: This mega hospital is campus, maybe a little city, full of engagement for healthcare. For the increasing numbers of people living in urban or remote places. Healthcare and hospitals are challenged like never before.

My respect, compliments and best wishes from Zurich to Zhengzhou.Maurice Codourey

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