HKUMed plans to build a new teaching and research complex to train the next generation of healthcare professionals and address the shortfall of doctors in the city.
The proposed development includes a new academic building that offers teaching and research facilities: clinical simulation teaching laboratories, clinical microbiology & pathology teaching laboratories, classrooms, lecture theatres, seminar and tutorial rooms, research laboratories, animal facilities, and data centre.
It will also provide not less than 4,000 m2 of open space for public use including landscaped deck gardens, sitting areas, and amenities, on top of barrier-free pedestrian access connecting Victoria Road/ Northcote Close to Pok Fu Lam Road. These public facilities will benefit the general public, including residents in the neighbourhood, users of Queen Mary Hospital (QMH), and nearby school students.
For more information, view the plans here.
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Hong Kong’s rapidly ageing population makes the need to address the shortage of medical professionals an urgent issue. The city currently has a severe shortfall of doctors and other healthcare professionals with forecasts suggesting a shortage of almost 2,000 doctors by 2040.
To address this issue, the HKSAR Government has increased the number of healthcare-related University Grants Committee-funded first-year-first-degree places by more than 150 starting from the 2019/2020 academic year. The number of medical school places will be increased by at least 60 every three years from the 2022/2023 academic year.
For HKU, this increase means it is projected to train 400 doctors a year by 2028, up from 265 in the 2019/2020 academic year.
This welcome increase in student numbers, however, has exacerbated the existing shortage of teaching space at the Faculty of Medicine. The Faculty’s main medical complex at 21 Sassoon Road was opened in 2001 and no further buildings have been allocated to medical teaching since that date. The Faculty has rolled out short-term measures such as renovating lecture theatres to accommodate more students, but these are insufficient to meet rising enrolments.
Medium-term efforts to meet the growing student and staff populations have already begun through conversion of office space to student learning areas. And a new building at No. 3 Sassoon Road set to open in Q3 2022 will cater to the growth of the School of Nursing where staff numbers have increased by more than 50 per cent over the past five years. The University will train 300 nurses each year by 2028, from 210 in 2019/2020.
A properly equipped teaching and training environment is crucial to the success of Hong Kong’s next generation of healthcare professionals.
To meet these needs, The University has proposed a new academic building on a green belt site to accommodate teaching and research facilities ranging from clinical simulation teaching laboratories, clinical microbiology & pathology teaching laboratories to animal facilities and a data centre.
The development will also house the “Good Manufacturing Practice” laboratory dedicated to stem cell research, which will develop provide life-saving treatments for patients.
HKU does not own a “land bank” with plots of land available for construction of new buildings and is significantly behind other tertiary institutions in Hong Kong in terms of space provision for infrastructure developments.
The site, which sits opposite Queen Mary Hospital on a slope below Pok Fu Lam Road, was chosen as the only feasible solution to address the Faculty’s needs after extensive consultation with various government bureaus and departments.
The proposed site was also selected for its proximity to existing teaching and research facilities on Sassoon Road, with plans for elevated walkways to connect the new buildings with the rest of the medical campus and QMH.
Because of the unique nature of the medical curriculum, it is crucial for clinical teaching staff that the new facilities are within reasonable walking distance from QMH so that they can attend to emergencies at the hospital.
The completed site will have a gross floor area of 40,840m² for laboratories and other teaching facilities along with a 4,000m² of open space for public use, including landscaped gardens.
With the expected loss of trees on the site, HKU is committed to providing a green environment by providing space for tree planting along Pok Fu Lam Road as well as on the building’s terraces as part of the design. This planting scheme will include native fruit trees for birds to feed on and the design will incorporate bird boxes for additional roosting sites.
On top of these planned features, the conceptual design is composed of 11 small blocks to minimise the visual impact of the development on the hillside.
During the construction phase, the impact on the environment and animals in the area will be kept to a minimum by using silencers or mufflers on construction equipment and through the careful disposal of waste and waste water.
The development is expected to have a minimal impact on car traffic in the area. A Traffic Impact Assessment found the development would generate around 50 more passenger cars per hour during peak times in the morning and afternoon.