Renowned entrepreneur and Chairman of the Cheung Kong Group, Mr. Li Ka-shing, has announced another major contribution to health care. Mr. Li will donate HK$16 million to establish hospice care services at 16 major hospitals all over China to provide pain alleviation and psychological counseling for terminally ill cancer patients. The establishment of hospice care services will be new to 15 of these hospitals. The First Affiliated Hospital of the Shantou University Medical College has been operating this service for two years. The Li Ka-shing Foundation will initially donate HK$1 million to each hospital to set up this free service, and depending on the progress, plans to donate a further HK$16 million annually to expand these services on a continual basis. Besides the First Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical College, the other 15 hospitals benefiting from this scheme are: Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Beijing Cancer Hospital, Xinhua Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Second Medical University, Tianjing First Central Hospital, Second Affiliated Hospital of China Medical College, Guangdong Medical College Affiliated Hospital, Shenzhen People’s Hospital, Yuebei People’s Hospital of Guangdong, Chaozhou Central Hospital of Guangdong, First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University Medical College, First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, First Affiliated Hospital of Lanzhou Medical College, Fujian Provincial Hospital, First Affiliated Hospital of Guanxi Medical University, and First Affiliated Hospital of Jaingxi Medical College. The Foundation aims to provide care for 4,500 patients and to make 120,000 house calls in the first year of operation. In 1998, the Li Ka-shing Foundation provided funding to the First Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical College for the establishment of the first free hospice care centre in the country. Today’s announcement marks a new phase in the Foundation’s hospice care program in China.
At present the First Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical College is the only hospital in China to provide free hospice care service, visiting the patients in their homes to provide pain relief, psychological counseling and related services. In the two years since the inception of this service, the team of medical staff at the hospital has made over 10,000 house calls to help terminally ill cancer patients cope with their suffering and improve their quality of life by treating them with dignity and respect. The service covers the Chaozhou, Shantou areas as well as remote mountain villages. This meaningful scheme has been lauded in China, particularly in the Chaozhou-Shantou area. It has been recognized as an innovative hospice care service focusing on domicile care. To extend this valuable free service to more patients, Mr. Li has made another donation to establish this service at 15 other hospitals around the country.
This network of hospices all over the country will effectively promote the development of hospice care in China, and will bring warmth and comfort to those suffering from terminal cancer. Mr. Li recognizes that cancer patients were once contributing members of society and hopes to alleviate their suffering and to allow them to live the remainder of their days with dignity.
Mr. Li has always been a keen support of community welfare. The Li Ka Shing Foundation was established in 1980 to promote the development of education and medical care. In 1981, Shantou University and its medical college were established. The student population now stands at over 7,000, and the four affiliated hospitals boast a total of 1,700 beds.