Hospital services to be adjusted

February 10, 2020

The Hospital Authority announced plans to gradually adjust non-emergency and non-essential services at public hospitals to focus manpower and resources on the challenge of the epidemic.


Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, the authority’s Chief Manager (Cluster Performance) Dr Ian Cheung said the next few weeks will be the most critical time for combating the novel coronavirus.


Dr Cheung explained that service curtailment can reduce the flow of people in hospitals, decrease the risk of cross infection and allow healthcare staff to focus on the epidemic and strengthen infection control measures.


“The specialist outpatient clinics (SOPCs) of public hospital will gradually reduce the services. For instance, ear, nose & throat specialty will provide consultations only to post operation follow up and cancer cases required surveillance.


“SOPCs will contact patients with stable condition and mild illnesses to reschedule the appointments and arrange drug refills.


“Emergency surgery services will be maintained. Elective surgeries will be postponed except for essential surgeries for cancer treatment. 


“Appointments for non-emergency and routine clinical examinations such as endoscopy and gastroscopy will also be rescheduled.”


At the same time, the authority is also discussing various public-private partnership programmes with several private hospitals. 


Public hospital patients will be diverted to private hospitals but receive treatment at current public hospitals fees. Initial agreement has been reached on neonatal jaundice treatment.


Dr Cheung hopes the public will understand the need for such service adjustment arrangements and apologised to affected patients.

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