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Press release on Hospital Authority Contingency Plan for World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference

    In response to media enquiries on medical services arrangement in public hospitals during the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference period, Hospital Authority (HA) spokesperson said the following.

     To ensure the safe and smooth running of the WTO Ministerial Conference, HA, as Hong Kong's major public medical services provider, has been in close liaison with the Government to formulate a series of contingency plans to cater for the medical needs during the Conference period.  Key measures of the contingency plans during the alert period (10-20 December 2005) are as follows:

1.Activation of Major Incident Control Centre (MICC): HA will operate the MICC during the alert period to command the overall responses on 24 hours basis.  HA MICC will be in close liaison with the cluster MICCs, and related Government Departments to ensure effective communication and co-ordination to cope with any emergency situations.

There were over 100 drills conducted in past 12 months to test the communication and co-ordination between HAHO and public hospitals and the capability of acute hospitals in handling major incidents.  Results of these drills have been satisfactory.

2.Emergency Medical Services and Transportation of Casualties: There are well established procedural guidelines between HA and Fire Services Department (FSD) in the management of casualties.  The ambulance crew of FSD will be responsible for the pre-hospital care of the injured persons.  The effective coordination between HA and FSD in the transportation of casualties will ensure the appropriate distribution of injured persons to various acute hospitals and would not overload individual hospitals.

There is an established practice at HA to deploy medical teams from 14 A&E Departments to incident sites to provide on site and timely assessment, stabilisation, triage of casualties and diversion to various hospitals, this practice will continue in the Conference period.  Besides deployment of medical teams to incident sites (multiple teams could be deployed according to needs).  In addition to these teams, there are medical teams stationed at the Conference venue.  There is also an additional mobile medical team which will be deployed to strategic location in anticipation of incident development.

HA has already identified six general outpatient clinics, ie., Sai Wan Ho Health Centre, Violet Peel Health Centre, Anne Black Health Centre, Sai Ying Pun Jockey Club General Outpatient Clinic, Central Kowloon Health Centre and Yau Ma Tei Jockey Club Clinic, to support the acute hospitals in treating the mildly injured during major incidents.

3.Non-urgent Services: HA has also developed contingency measures to adjust the non-emergency services in acute hospitals.  

The non-urgent services may be rescheduled to avoid the alert period in order to provide prompt and appropriate services and treatment for the patients in need.  Treatment which are clinically indicated will proceed as usual.  The general public and patients concerned will be duly informed by HA.  HA also ensures the public that emergency services will not be affected.  

4.Manpower: No-leave arrangement for healthcare staff of key essential services; restricted leave will also apply in other services.  Manpower in the following departments will be strengthened to cope with demands: Accident & Emergency (A&E), surgery, orthopaedics and traumatology, neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, operating theatre, anaesthesiology, burns unit, intensive care unit and other departments as necessary.
HA has also invited staff to join the Rapid Response Team as volunteers during their off-duty hours or rest days to support the frontline staff during the Conference period.  Around 300 dedicated staff members have expressed interest in joining the Team.

To cater to the needs of patients who do not speak English or Chinese, HA has prepared a set of questions and answers on cue cards in 12 foreign languages to facilitate the communication between health care workers and patients on their conditions and the treatment plan.  Furthermore, HA has also built up a pool of interpreters to provide assistance at hospitals as and when necessary.  

5. Internal Communication: In order to brief HA frontline staff on the services, work and contingency plan of HA during the Conference period, over 40 staff forums have been conducted; on-going staff electronic newsletters and emails have been sent; staff enquiry hotline has been set up.  The understanding and dedication of staff are highly appreciated.  

    To conclude, the co-operation and understanding of the patients and general public are called for.  

Ends/Wednesday, December 7, 2005
Issued at HKT 20:31


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