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LCQ8: Handling of patient complaints by the Prince Philip Dental Hospital

    Following is a question by Dr Hon Kwok Ka-ki and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (October 24):


     Regarding the handling of patient complaints by the Prince Philip Dental Hospital which is subsidised by the Government, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows the details of the Hospital's redress system in handling patient complaints (including whether the Hospital has set up an independent committee to handle such complaints);

(b) whether it knows the number of patient complaint cases handled by the Hospital, its percentage in the annual total service caseload of the Hospital and, among them, the number of substantiated complaint cases, in each of the past five years; and

(c) whether the Government will consider putting the Hospital within the purview of the Ombudsman?


Madam President,

     The Prince Philip Dental Hospital (PPDH) is a teaching hospital which serves two types of patients.  The majority are teaching patients (TPs) and a small number is private fee paying patients (PFPPs).  For TPs, they are required to undergo an initial screening upon their first attendance and will be registered as TPs if their dental problems are found to be fit for teaching purpose.  For PFPPs, they are required to have a referral letter issued by a registered medical practitioner or a dentist, recommending a referral for specialised treatment at the PPDH.

     At present, patient complaints can be lodged with the PPDH in writing (either by emails or mails), by phone or in person.  To facilitate patients' understanding of the complaint channels and the complaint management system of PPDH, the PPDH has published a pamphlet on the "Complaint Management System in the Prince Philip Dental Hospital" to explain the details.  A complaint form is also attached to facilitate the complainants.

(a) The PPDH currently operates the following two-tier system in handling patient complaints:

First-tier complaint management system
A first-tier complaint management system is in place to deal with the complaints lodged against PPDH's staff or services provided.  A Patient Relations Officer is designated by the PPDH to deal with all the complaints lodged for the first time and direct the cases to the relevant section-in-charge for follow-up action.

Second-tier complaint management system
A complainant who is not satisfied with the decision made through the first-tier complaint management system can lodge an appeal to the Patient Arbitration/Grievance Committee (PAGC).  The membership of the PAGC comprises:

Chairman: Director of the PPDH
Members: -Comptroller of the PPDH
         -One Faculty member of same discipline
          related to the patient complaint
         -An independent external dentist
Secretary: Assistant Hospital Administrator of the

     The PAGC is established to carry out investigation into, and adjudicate, patient complaints or appeals lodged directly with it.  The mission of the PAGC is to ensure a fair and effective complaint management system within the PPDH in which complaints or appeals are considered in an independent, impartial, fair, thorough and prompt manner.

(b) Statistical data regarding the number of complaint cases handled by the PPDH in each of the past five years are tabulated in Annex I.

(c) According to section 3 of the Prince Philip Dental Hospital Ordinance, the set up of the PPDH is for providing training to dentists and other persons in professions supplementary to dentistry.  It is a teaching institution instead of a hospital offering public dental services.  The Government does not have any plan to put it within the purview of the Ombudsman.

Ends/Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Issued at HKT 12:36


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