On March 14, the Ministry of Health and Welfare approved the plan to establish the Tsing Hua University Hospital in Taoyuan. To be located in the Taoyuan Aerotropolis being built next to the Taoyuan Airport, the teaching hospital and medical complex will have a total of 910 beds, including 200 general acute care beds in the initial stage. In addition to serving Taoyuan and the surrounding areas, the hospital will make the most of its convenient location by catering to the needs of medical tourism. By adopting the BOT (build, operate, transfer) model, the hospital will be established without government funding, and is expected to be completed in 2027.
On a related note, NTHU's plan to establish a post-baccalaureate program in medicine was approved by the Ministry of Education in September of 2021; the first batch of 23 state-financed students will be enrolled in August of this year, and will eventually do their internships at the new hospital. NTHU president Hocheng Hong said that the establishment of the hospital and the program in medicine will usher in a new era of medical science at NTHU, very much in consonance with the school motto “Self-discipline and social commitment.” He further added that the hospital will serve as a center for primary telemedicine in Taiwan.
In April 2019, NTHU and the Taoyuan City Government agreed on a plan to jointly develop a medical complex as part of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis to be built next to the Taoyuan Airport. On March 15, Taoyuan mayor Cheng Wen-Tsan(鄭文燦) said that the Taoyuan City Government has given its full backing to the project, including the plan to expand the number of acute care beds in stages, eventually reaching the goal of 499 general acute care beds approved by the Taoyuan Department of Public Health.
Mayor Cheng said that there are no large-scale hospitals in the Luzhu, Dayuan, Guanyin, and Qingpu areas of Taoyuan, and that the new hospital will fill this pressing need, while concurrently serving as a convenient hub for medical tourism.
In addition to the general acute care beds, the hospital will also have an intensive care unit, a respiratory care unit, negative pressure isolation rooms, and a psychiatric unit for both inpatients and outpatients, all of which will be gradually expanded over a number of years to reach a total capacity of 910 beds.
Referring to the famous lecture on the advent of atomic microminiaturization titled “There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” given by Nobel laureate Richard Feynman in 1959, President Hocheng said that NTHU has become a key player in the development of innovative primary medical technology and services, and that its efforts in this area reflect Taiwan's “new southbound policy.”
President Hocheng stated that the Tsing Hua Hospital will be a world-class facility that makes abundant use of the many medical-related materials and technologies developed at NTHU in such areas as dental and bone materials, prosthetics, pharmaceuticals, nuclear medicine, neurology, genetics, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, and big data, making it “a paragon of cross-disciplinary medicine, and the hospital of the future.”
President Hocheng also said that, in addition to providing first-class medical care for the people of Hsinchu, Taoyuan and Miaoli, the Tsing Hua Hospital will make the most of its location to develop a telemedicine system for providing international diagnostics and surgery services to various Asian cities, such as Jakarta, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Yangon.
Although it is technically a public construction project, no government funding will be required. President Hocheng said that the hospital will have the highest cost-performance ratio of all the university-affiliated hospitals in Taiwan, and its completion will constitute a major contribution to medical care in Taiwan and beyond.
The hospital will be built on 7.2 hectares of land provided by Taoyuan City, of which 5 hectares will be used for the hospital itself, while the remaining 2.2 hectares will be used for the affiliated teaching and research facilities, including classrooms, research rooms, laboratories, and dormitories. The two sections will be connected by an underground passage to be built as part of the first phase of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis.
The project is being overseen by NTHU senior vice president Lyu Ping-chiang, who said that the BOT plan has already been approved by the Ministry of Education, adding that a number of well-known hospitals have expressed initial interest, and that the construction firm for the project will be selected in the near future. The construction cost is estimated at NT$8.5 billion, and the preliminary work is expected to start by the end of this year.
Senior Vice President Lyu(呂平江) said that the hospital will be located a mere 400 meters from the Hengshan Station (A16) of the Airport MRT, only two MRT stops from both the airport and the Taoyuan Station of the high-speed rail line. The same MRT line also connects with the Zhongli Railway Station, and the site will also be served by the Green Line soon to be added to the Airport MRT. In addition to the residents of Dayuan, Luzhu, Guanyin, Xinwu and other small towns in the area, the hospital will also serve the 250,000 projected residents of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis.
Senior Vice President Lyu noted that the hospital will provide a range of specialty medical care, including nuclear medicine, neurology, gene therapy, and immunotherapy, the last two of which are currently unavailable in Taiwan. Tsing Hua University has the only research reactor in Taiwan. In cooperation with the Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH), the reactor was converted for use in boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), and now provides treatment for brain, head, and neck cancer. To date, the treatment has provided a new lease on life to over 200 cancer patients from around the world, including Spain, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, and Japan.
NTHU senior vice president Tai Nyan-hwa(戴念華) said that the Department of Medical Science was established 12 years ago, and has recently added two doctoral programs, viz., smart biomedicine and precision medicine. The department has also paved the way for the post-baccalaureate program in medicine, which has appointed 180 NTHU faculty members already teaching related subjects, and 71 full-time professors and assistant professors. An additional 87 practicing physicians from leading medical centers throughout Taiwan have also been appointed to teach on a part-time basis.
The plan to establish the hospital was approved by the Ministry of Education in July of 2021. Senior Vice President Lyu indicated that the hospital will provide medical students at NTHU with numerous internship opportunities.
Senior Vice President Lyu also mentioned that the hospital will make good use of artificial intelligence and big data, and will also make extensive use of the latest medical technology and telemedicine, providing comprehensive and state-of-the-art medical care to locals and visitors alike, while also serving as a world class teaching hospital.
With much impetus provided by NTHU president Hocheng Hong,the construction of the Tsing Hua University Hospital is expected to begin at the end of 2022.
NTHU vice president Lyu Ping-chiang(呂平江) showing the excellent location of the hospital.
The hospital will be located a mere 400 meters from the Hengshan Station (A16) of the Airport MRT, only two MRT stops from both the airport and the Taoyuan Station of the high-speed rail line.
The site of the future hospital.
Diagram showing the hospital (left) and its affiliated teaching and research facilities (right).
Simulation of the Tsing Hua University Hospital.
Simulation of the Tsing Hua University Hospital.