Hospital Authority deploys additional resources to cope with sudden surge in service demand

Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     The Hospital Authority (HA) today (July 17) announced that in view of the recent service demand surge in public hospitals and the heavy workload of frontline staff, all hospital accreditation activities will be suspended until June 30, 2018. Public hospitals will postpone certain non-emergency services and to explore seeking support from private hospital in hospital beds.

     HA Deputising Chief Executive, Dr Cheung Wai-lun, today expressed gratitude to the Government for providing additional resources to HA and activating interdepartmental collaboration to help public hospitals cope with the overwhelming service situation in the summer influenza peak season.

     "We understand the heavy work pressure faced by frontline staff and have already employed 350 part-time doctors and 2200 part-time nurses to alleviate their workload. We will continue to recruit more part-time healthcare staff, including patient service supporting staff in the wards, through various channels. We will continue to provide special honorarium to staff willing to work overtime, from doctors, nurse, allied health professionals to patient care assistants.

Auxiliary Medical Service will be invited to help take care of patients waiting for consultation at busy Accident & Emergency (A&E) Departments," Dr Cheung said.

     Dr Cheung added that all public hospitals will suspend hospital accreditation activities immediately until June 30, 2018 to alleviate non-clinical duties of healthcare staff.

     HA is also exploring with private hospital to support HA's hospital bed demand by transferring suitable patients, in order to vacate public hospital beds for more serious patients.

     To relieve pressure of A&E Departments and for the convenience of patients with mild ailments, additional General Outpatient Clinic quotas will be provided and doctors from the Department of Health will be invited to provide service during their off-duty hours.

     HA will continue to work closely with social welfare organisations via the Social Welfare Department to speed up the allocation of places in residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs)for patients assessed to be suitable for discharge. HA also appeals to RCHEs for enhancing care of the elderly and the early arrangement of discharged patients back to the homes to vacate the hospital beds. "We will also enhance support to RCHEs through Community Geriatric Assessment Team, Community-based Nursing Service and Visiting Medical Officer Scheme to take care of patients with mild clinical condition outside the hospitals. Some hospitals have arranged geriatric doctors and nurses to A&E Departments to provide early assessment and treatment to patients to reduce admissions."

     Public hospitals are also reviewing non-emergency operations and Specialist Outpatient Clinic (SOPC) services to suspend or postpone non-emergency operations and SOPC routine cases, so as to spare manpower for inpatient care," said Dr Cheung, extending apology to patients being affected. He also expressed appreciation to healthcare staff of public hospitals for their dedication despite the heavy work pressure.

Published on: 2017-07-17

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