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Deal to boost island's hospital facilities

WITHIN three years, residents of the city's Chongming County will no longer need to cross the Yangtze River for better medical treatment downtown, as work began on creating the rural island's first top-level hospital over the weekend.

However, doctors and officials admitted that there was still a long way to go to bring first-class medical facilities to the island, as medical professionals have proved unwilling to work in isolated rural areas.

As a part of a medical improvement project started by the Shanghai Health Bureau that aims to develop medical facilities in suburban Shanghai, Xinhua Hospital, one of the most prestigious in the city, penned a three-year cooperation contract with Chongming Central Hospital to help it become a first-class medical facility.

The new hospital, with an investment of 600 million yuan (US$87.91 million) will have 1,000 beds when it is completed in 2012.

The city's medical improvement project aims to build eight more first-class hospitals in suburban districts such as Chongming, Qingpu, Fengxian and Jinshan within the next three years.

However, there is still "a long way to go" before the Chongming Central Hospital can reach a first-class standard, said Xu Weiguo, the head of Xinhua.

"Good doctors don't want to stay on this small island," said Xu. "They prefer a job downtown in the city."

Chongming has a population of 750,000.


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