Hospitals get $700m as flu looms

02-Dec-2021 Intellasia | TheStandard | 5:02 AM Print This Post

The Hospital Authority has allocated over HK$700 million to public hospitals to prepare for the service surge in winter, as doctors warned that more people could be infected by the seasonal flu.

“Public hospitals have deployed resources in facilities and manpower in preparation for service enhancements to meet the surge in service demand during the period,” said the chief manager in cluster performance, Michael Wong Lap-gate.

Hospitals will use the HK$700 million fund to put in additional 323 ward beds and 800 temporary ward beds.

The authority also planned to hire 200 more doctors, 1,230 nurses and 370 allied health professionals, including medical laboratory technologists, radiographers, occupational therapists and dental hygienists.

“Resources have been reserved for public hospitals to open temporary beds according to operational needs. Manpower resources planning has started, inter alia, encouraging and assisting health-care staff to join the special honorarium scheme and the ongoing recruitment of locum and temporary health-care staff,” Wong said.

He said the risks of flu transmissions will increase this year because many schools have resumed full-day classes, while immunity against flu has been weakened as there has been no massive flu outbreak in the past two years.

Therefore, the number of infections will surge if there is a flu outbreak, Wong said, so Hongkongers should stay vigilant.

However, Wong said the distance between temporary ward beds at public hospitals may not be 1.5 meters apart and the situation is not ideal.

He also said many medical workers have left public hospitals this year and the increase in staffing for winter may not be up to usual levels.

But he stressed there will still be more medical workers compared with the past years.

Wong also said various services will be improved to expedite the turnover of hospital beds, including the frequency of ward checking in the evenings and during weekends and holidays, increasing night shift nursing and supporting staff manpower as well as supporting services for hospital discharge and transfer.

The authority will also enhance cooperation with private hospitals, Wong said.

He also appealed to the public for non-urgent patients to avoid using accident and emergency departments at public hospitals and to seek consultations instead at general out-patient clinics, private doctors, private hospitals and family doctors.

“General out-patient clinics services will be enhanced with an additional service quota of around 24,000, including a quota of around 3,500 during the long holidays. More clinics, covering more districts, will provide services during the Christmas, Chinese New Year and Easter long holidays,” Wong said.

But the president of the Hong Kong Public Doctors’ Association, Tony Ling Siu-chi, said yesterday said there was nothing new in the measures to increase manpower and expected there would still be a shortage in hospital beds this year.$700m-as-flu-looms


Category: Hong Kong

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