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LCQ6: Expansion project of United Christian Hospital

     Following is a question by the Hon Fred Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (April 13):


     In 2011-2012, the estimated number of general beds in the public hospitals under the Kowloon East Hospital Cluster (KE Cluster) of the Hospital Authority (HA) is 2,135, and the ratio of general beds to population within the cluster is 2.2 beds per 1,000 people, which is far below HA's overall ratio of 2.9 beds per 1,000 people. Some members of the public have pointed out that the United Christian Hospital (UCH) in KE Cluster has faced the problem of insufficient space for a long time and it is difficult for it to meet the demand of residents in KE Cluster for medical services. The authorities advised in 2008 that HA was drawing up the preliminary expansion plan of UCH and would submit it to the Government for consideration. However, the 2011-2012 Budget has not mentioned the expansion project. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether HA has submitted UCH's expansion plan to the authorities; if not, whether it knows when HA will submit the expansion plan; if the plan has been submitted, when the works will commence as suggested by HA; whether the authorities will accept the expansion plan; if they will not, of the reasons for that; whether the authorities will undertake that they will allocate resources for the implementation of the expansion project in or before 2012-2013; and

(b) of the respective estimated costs for the entire expansion project and for the first phase of the project; regarding the entire project, of its expected completion date, the number of hospital beds which can be provided, as well as the corresponding increase in the number of healthcare personnel and the amount of recurrent expenditure?



     Established in 1973, the United Christian Hospital (UCH) is an acute general hospital that provides a wide range of services including in-patient, day-patient, out-patient and community care services to the Kwun Tong community. In view of the increasing demand for ambulatory and in-patient services brought about by the rapid population growth in Kwun Tong in recent years, the Hospital Authority (HA) has proposed to carry out an expansion project for the hospital so as to meet the rising demand for healthcare services.

     HA started preliminary planning on the expansion project of UCH in 2008. We accepted this project in principle based on the information submitted by HA, including the need and specific details of the proposed project. HA has subsequently engaged a consultant to carry out various preliminary technical assessments for the project.

     The proposed expansion project involves demolition of four existing hospital blocks and one annex for the construction of two new blocks, namely an ambulatory-cum-pathology block and a staff block. Upon relocation of some of the services and facilities from the existing hospital blocks to the two new blocks, the vacated space will be used for improvement, expansion and rationalisation of the existing departments and services. In addition, extended care and oncology wards will be provided in the existing hospital blocks.

     At present, HA is conducting preliminary planning work for the expansion project, including the development of "Clinical Service Plan" and "Master Development Plan" etc. As the expansion project of UCH is still at the planning stage, relevant details such as the construction costs, completion date, number of additional staff and recurrent expenditure etc. are under internal consideration. Upon completion of the preliminary planning work, we will seek funding approval in accordance with the established procedures, with a view to commencing the works as soon as possible.

Ends/Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:00


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