Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article Government Homepage
New measures on obstetric services and immigration control announced (with video)
***********************************************************

   The Government today (January 16) announced new arrangements for medical services and supporting immigration measures, aimed at ensuring that local pregnant women would be provided with proper and priority obstetric services and restricting the number of non-local pregnant women giving birth in Hong Kong to a level that can be supported by Hong Kong's healthcare system.

     "The new measures can also deter dangerous behaviour by non-local pregnant women in seeking last-minute hospital admission before delivery through the Accident and Emergency Departments," a government spokesman said.

     The Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, Dr York Chow, and the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose Lee, have already explained the Government's policy and measures for dealing with this issue in a motion debate at the Legislative Council meeting on January 10.

     In respect of medical services, the Hospital Authority will implement a central booking system for obstetric services starting from February 1.  Under the booking system, all pregnant women, including Mainland women planning to deliver in Hong Kong, must make prior arrangements with hospitals here and undergo antenatal examinations.  

     The Hospital Authority will reserve sufficient places for local pregnant women to ensure that they have priority over Non-eligible Persons (NEPs) (i.e. persons not holding Hong Kong Identity Cards) in the booking of obstetric services.  If extra places are available, the authority will accept bookings from non-local pregnant women.  However, once service capacity is reached, the authority will stop making bookings for non-local pregnant women.

     With the new service arrangement, hospitals would be better placed to manage their obstetric services and make appropriate preparations and deployment before the pregnant women are admitted.  

     With effect from February 1, the authority will increase the minimum amount of the Obstetric Package Charge for NEPs íV $39,000 for those with a booking, and $48,000 for those without one.  The fee has to be paid in full at the time of booking.  The authority will issue a booking confirmation certificate to NEPs who have secured a booking and made payment.

     The Government has already discussed the new measures with the Hospital Authority and private hospitals.  All private hospitals offering obstetric services support the new measures.  They will similarly issue a booking confirmation certificate to pregnant women who have secured a booking and paid a deposit for the necessary inpatient services.

     In addition, the authority would expand service and strengthen manpower to cope with the increasing demand for obstetric services and neonatal care.  The authority would ensure that local women would be provided with proper and priority obstetric services.  

     In respect of supporting immigration measures, the Immigration Department will step up arrival clearance checks for all non-local pregnant women who are at an advanced stage of pregnancy.  To minimise disputes, women who have been pregnant for seven months (i.e. 28 weeks) or above will be deemed to be at an advanced stage of pregnancy.  Final decision on the entry of a particular visitor or otherwise will rest with relevant officers.

     Starting from February 1, pregnant Mainland women who are suspected of entering Hong Kong to give birth will be asked by immigration officers upon entry to produce the booking confirmation certificates issued by Hong Kong hospitals to prove that a local hospital has confirmed the arrangements for their admission to the hospital.  Those who fail to do so may be denied entry. The Government will continue to discuss the arrangements with the Mainland authorities concerned.

     As for non-local pregnant women from places other than the Mainland, given that there are only isolated cases of such women giving birth in Hong Kong, the Government will not request them to produce a booking confirmation certificate before approving their entry applications at this stage.  Nevertheless, arrival clearance checks on these women will be increased.

     The staff of the Immigration Department will be assisted by medical staff to implement the new measures at the control points, for instance, providing advice on the physical condition of pregnant women.

Ends/Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Issued at HKT 17:44

NNNN

Print this page