Macau Daily Times

New cross-border hospital scheme extended


THE Hong Kong government is launching a pilot cross-border ambulance transfer service to move patients from mainland China and Macau hospitals for treatment in Hong Kong.

In a change from the original plan, the service will now extend medical care to non-residents in Hong Kong, as cited in a South China Morning Post report.

Lo Chung-mau, the health secretary, was speaking as the pilot scheme prepared to launch, probably by the end of the month or early May.

Lo said the present arrangemen­ts were “far from satisfacto­ry” because they raised concerns about safety and quality of patient care.

The new scheme aims to provide medical services that may be unavailabl­e in neighborin­g cities.

It is expected to start in the next few weeks and will run for a year. The University of Hong Kong-shenzhen Hospital and Conde de São Januário in Macau will be the first hospitals to send patients to Hong Kong.

“The direct cross-border ambulance arrangemen­t would not only be limited to Hongkonger­s,” he said after an antechambe­r exchange session with members of the Legislativ­e Council.

“We should consider the requiremen­ts of anyone with medical needs, even those who are not Hong Kong residents.”

Lo said some patients in Macau have already been referred to Hong Kong healthcare centers for medical services.

“Hong Kong has quality medical services – if we have the capacity in certain areas, we will help neighborin­g cities and their residents,” he pledged.

“I don’t see the need for ruling out this possibilit­y.”

The criteria for transferri­ng patients include clinical conditions requiring cross-border treatment, no additional risks to patients, and ineligibil­ity for other types of cross-border transport.

The government is working to ensure the legality of vehicles, medical personnel, equipment, and medicines used in the transfer process.

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