Govt mar­shals re­sources to fight flu

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By WILLA WU in Hong Kong willa@chi­nadai­lyhk.com Con­tact the writ­ers at luis­liu@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Hong Kong’s health chief will al­lo­cate an ad­di­tional 8,000 consultation slots to gen­eral out-pa­tient clin­ics un­der the Hospi­tal Au­thor­ity (HA) be­fore the end of Septem­ber so more pa­tients can re­ceive timely treat­ment dur­ing the peak flu sea­son.

Speak­ing dur­ing a me­dia gath­er­ing on Wed­nes­day, Sec­re­tary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Si­uchee said the ex­tra con­sul­ta­tions ap­plied to both morn­ing and evening out­pa­tient ser­vices.

She did not re­veal the ex­act num­ber of slots each hospi­tal will re­ceive, or the date con­sul­ta­tions will be given out. Chan said the HA would an­nounce th­ese de­tails later.

The city is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the sum­mer peak flu sea­son, with thou­sands of peo­ple seek­ing med­i­cal help at pub­lic hos­pi­tals. The HA’s lat­est fig­ure showed that on Tues­day 4,906 pa­tients were treated in pub­lic hos­pi­tals’ emer­gency rooms. Among them 864 were sent to med­i­cal wards, bring­ing the oc­cu­pancy rate to 108 per­cent.

The HA told China Daily there were more than 6 mil­lion consultation slots in the city’s gen­eral out-pa­tient clin­ics on of­fer ev­ery year — 23,000 per week­day.

Chan also re­vealed that ne­go­ti­a­tions with a pri­vate in­sti­tu­tion — St Teresa’s Hospi­tal in Kowloon City — to han­dle ex­tra pub­lic hospi­tal pa­tients were mak­ing “good process” but de­tails were still be­ing fi­nal­ized.

The pri­vate hospi­tal is re­quired in its land lease to have “low-cost” med­i­cal beds, Chan said. Cur­rently, the hospi­tal has 101 “low­cost” beds, each charg­ing HK$120 per day.

Ad­ven­tist Hospi­tal in Tsuen Wan, which has 60 “low-cost” beds, is an­other pri­vate in­sti­tu­tion the gov­ern­ment turned to for help, Chan added.

The HA will an­nounce de­tails such as how many beds would be on of­fer, the cost of us­ing the beds in pri­vate hos­pi­tals and which kind of pa­tients are en­ti­tled to en­joy the ser­vices. Chan ex­pected the an­nounce­ment would be made this week.

The gov­ern­ment has also sent let­ters to doc­tors em­ployed by the De­part­ment of Health, invit­ing them to work part-time in pub­lic hos­pi­tals, Chan said. She did not know how many doc­tors would be in­volved.

Cur­rently, some 300 part­time doc­tors and 2,000 part­time nurses are work­ing in pub­lic hos­pi­tals, ac­cord­ing to Chan.

On top of ac­quir­ing ex­ter­nal help, which Chan called “sup­ple­men­tary means”, the gov­ern­ment also made an ef­fort to im­prove ser­vices pro­vided by the pub­lic hos­pi­tals, as this would be “more ef­fec­tive and prac­ti­cal”.

Chan said the gov­ern­ment has ap­proached the So­cial Wel­fare De­part­ment to pro­vide rooms for pa­tients who are ready to be dis­charged but wait­ing for some­one to pick them up, such as se­nior cit­i­zens liv­ing in nurs­ing homes.

New pa­tients could have beds more quickly this way, Chan ex­plained.

The gov­ern­ment has ap­proached the So­cial Wel­fare De­part­ment to pro­vide rooms for pa­tients who are ready to be dis­charged but wait­ing for some­one to pick them up.” Sophia Chan Siu-chee, sec­re­tary for food and health

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