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Guangzhou cancer center epitomizes reform push

By LI WENFANG in Guangzhou| Source: China Daily | Updated : 2023-06-29

The launch of Guangzhou Concord Cancer Center, a private hospital, in 2021 was made possible due to reforms launched in China's healthcare system more than a decade ago, its President Qian Chaonan said.

Qian, a professor and former vice-president of Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, had in 2008 participated in the formulation of one of the editions of the national healthcare system reform and the Health China 2020 plan. The use of nonpublic capital in building hospitals was included in the plan, in order to address the issue of insufficient medical resources, especially in specialized hospitals.

Subsequently, a leading public cancer center in Guangzhou and Concord Healthcare Group Co, affiliated to NYSE-listed Concord Holdings, signed an agreement in 2010 to jointly build a new cancer hospital.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the process, which included the construction of a proton therapy center and the installation of the proton radiation therapy system, the most advanced equipment of its kind in South China, Qian said.

It took 81 containers to transport the proton therapy equipment from abroad. More than 100 engineers spent over two years to complete the installation and commissioning of the proton system, he said.

The new hospital is designed and managed in accordance with international standards, in cooperation with renowned US medical institutions, the MD Anderson Cancer Center affiliated with the University of Texas, and the Mayo Clinic, Qian said.

The high operating room standards as well as its cutting-edge intensive care units and wards help reduce the length of patient stays by minimizing in-hospital infections and improving patients' sleep, among other measures. This leads to lower spending, both by patients as well as medical insurance providers, he said.

The hospital is also dedicated to providing precise treatment for the well-being of patients, such as maximizing breast-conserving therapy for breast cancer patients and minimizing potential harm to the hearts of those who undergo radiotherapy.

Some children awaiting marrow transplants in other hospitals in Guangzhou are transferred to the Guangzhou Concord Cancer Center for marrow purging beforehand, which helps boost the success rate of the transplant.

The hospital also provides consultancy services to cancer patients from across the country. Treatment plans for complicated cases are translated into English and sent to US partners for review.

Li Zuofeng, chief physicist of the radiotherapy department and deputy director of the proton therapy center at the hospital, said his goal is to provide world-leading healthcare services to patients.

Li was the chief physicist of the proton center at the University of Florida before joining the hospital. He is planning to build a base for both online and in-person training, as well as a clinical research system for the hospital.

The hospital will be expanded with a second phase beside its location in Huangpu district.

Guangzhou Concord Cancer Center has received many visitors from other medical institutions in the country and shared its experience.

Qian believes the ideas applied in the hospital, such as single-bed hospital rooms and precise pathological analysis, will be gradually promoted nationwide with the rapid development of the country.

Meanwhile, Concord Healthcare Group Co, which operates three cancer hospitals and three clinics in the country, submitted in January for a second time a prospectus to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange.


A doctor (left) addresses patient queries at the Guangzhou Concord Cancer Center in Guangdong province. CHINA DAILY

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