LCQ5: Tin Shui Wai Hospital

     Following is a question by the Hon Wong Kwok-hing and a reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (November 17):


     In his Policy Address delivered on October 13, 2010, the Chief Executive has mentioned that to meet the increasing demand for healthcare services in Tin Shui Wai, the authorities have decided to build a new hospital in the area, which is expected to be completed in 2016.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that the Secretary for Food and Health said last year that Tin Shui Wai Hospital was expected to be completed and to come into operation in 2015, but now the expected completion date will be delayed for one year, of the reasons for that; whether the authorities have corresponding measures to meet residents' needs for public healthcare services during the extended period for completion of the hospital, and to shorten the construction time of the hospital to strive for its completion in 2015;

(b) when the authorities will make a decision on the site of the hospital; of the details of the hospital's design as well as the facilities and services to be provided, including the number of beds and whether out-patient services for traditional Chinese medicine will be available, etc.; the estimated number of residents the hospital can serve, and whether it can meet the needs of the population in Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai; and

(c) whether the authorities will consider recruiting, as far as possible, suitable candidates from the unemployed in the district for the jobs created by the hospital in the future, so as to alleviate the employment problems in the district?



(a) To strengthen the provision of healthcare services in Tin Shui Wai (TSW) New Town, which has seen rapid development in recent years, we plan to build a public hospital in TSW.  As the proposed hospital site is situated in an area which may contain marble cavity, a longer construction period is usually required for completion of the foundation works.  Under such circumstances, it is expected that the completion date of the hospital will be slightly put back for a few months to mid-2016.  We will expedite the planning of the works as far as circumstances permit in an effort to complete the construction works as early as possible.

     Before completion of the new hospital, healthcare services for TSW residents will continue to be provided by hospitals and related specialist out-patient clinics and general out-patient clinics under the New Territories West Cluster (NTWC).  In the past few years, the Hospital Authority (HA) has provided additional funding to NTWC to enhance the healthcare services for residents of New Territories West.  For instance, in the two years of 2009-10 and 2010-11, services provided by Pok Oi Hospital and Tuen Mun Hospital have been expanded, including provision of some 220 additional beds, an increase of 20 operating theatre sessions per week in Pok Oi Hospital, installation of a second magnetic resonance imaging scanner in Tuen Mun Hospital to shorten patients' waiting time for examination, and strengthening of cataract service.

     Besides, NTWC has strengthened its ambulatory and community-based services such as expansion of its haemodialysis services and services provided by its chemotherapy day centre, implementation of a community-based Case Management Programme for persons with severe mental illness, strengthening of psychiatric specialist out-patient services for children and youths, expansion of psychogeriatric outreach services for the elderly to cover private residential care homes for the elderly, implementation of an integrated discharge support programme to provide post-discharge support services to those high-risk elderly who have difficulty in taking care of themselves, and enhancement of the services of the substance abuse clinic.

     NTWC will continue to closely monitor TSW residents' demand for healthcare services and ensure that they can receive appropriate treatment before the completion of the new hospital.

(b) On November 4, 2010, we obtained the support of the Yuen Long District Council (the Culture, Recreation, Community Service and Housing Committee) to construct the TSW Hospital at the site in TSW Area 32.  To expedite the project works, the Architectural Services Department will adopt a "design-and-build" approach (both design and construction to be undertaken by the same contractor) for the construction of TSW Hospital.  In addition, for more accurate project cost estimation, we will first conduct a contractor prequalification exercise for the project, and proceed with the tendering procedures upon completion of the prequalification exercise.  We will then seek funding approval from the Legislative Council based on the tender price.

     Upon commissioning, TSW Hospital will become one of the hospitals under NTWC, which serves Yuen Long and Tuen Mun districts.  NTWC will continue to make optimal use of its resources to provide services according to priorities based on the needs for medical services in the community.  The development potentials of NTWC will also be maximised by utilising the strengths of TSW Hospital and other hospitals under NTWC to complement each other to provide the most appropriate treatment to local residents.  Under the current plan, the main facilities and services to be provided at TSW Hospital include: 250 to 300 beds to provide in-patient services (for emergency medicine, rehabilitation, convalescent and palliative care); an accident and emergency department; a number of ambulatory services (including a specialist out-patient clinic (which provides family medicine and psychiatric services), a general out-patient clinic, a haemodialysis centre, a geriatric day hospital, a psychiatric day hospital, hospice day care, daytime rehabilitation services and an endoscopy suite); various community care services (including community nursing/community geriatric assessment, community rehabilitation services, psychiatric outreach services, medical social work, and a health resource centre); and such support services as laboratory and diagnostic radiological services.  Based on the projected population growth in NTWC, the total number of beds within the cluster upon completion of the new hospital should be able to meet the service demands arising from the increase in population.

     On Chinese medicine services, the Government's objectives are to develop standards in Chinese medicine practice, to systematise the knowledge base of Chinese medicine through, amongst others, clinical research and to provide training in "evidence-based" Chinese medicine.  To achieve these objectives, the Government will establish in phases one public Chinese medicine clinic (CMC) in each of the 18 districts in Hong Kong.  The CMC serving Yuen Long district (including TSW) is located on 3/F, Yuen Long Madam Yung Fung Shee Health Centre.  As there is already a CMC in Yuen Long district, we have no plan to set up an additional CMC in TSW Hospital.

     Apart from the construction of TSW Hospital, NTWC has also launched new mode of service delivery by setting up a nurse and allied health clinic inside a general out-patient clinic to follow-up on the treatment of chronic patients, setting up a Centre for Healthy Life to enhance psychosocial services for patients suffering from cancer and other chronic illnesses.

     To cope with the increasing demand for healthcare services in Yuen Long and TSW, NTWC will in the coming years continue to closely monitor and assess the residents' demand and enhance its services, including provision of additional beds in Pok Oi Hospital by phases, and construction of an integrated building in TSW Area 109.  The integrated building is scheduled to come into full operation in 2012-13 for provision of a general out-patient clinic, a family medicine integrated clinic, visiting services by community nurses and community psychiatric nurses, and an allied health clinic offering physiotherapy service, occupational therapy service and services provided by registered dieticians.

(c) On the recruitment of staff, HA will choose suitable and capable candidates to take up the posts.  The entry requirements are different for different grades of HA staff, including healthcare personnel and clerical staff, general services and technical services assistants, etc.  We understand that most of the job seekers prefer to work in the area where they live, especially those unemployed who are usually engaged in supporting work.  HA will keep the matter in view and welcome suitable persons to join and work in TSW Hospital in future.

Ends/Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:06