Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LCQ10: Services of public and private hospitals

     Following is a question by the Hon Albert Ho and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (July 6):


     Regarding the development of services in the public and private hospitals, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

(a) the situation of the public and private hospitals in the past five years, including:

(i) the changes and trend of development in the number of beds in the public and private hospitals; the respective percentages of such numbers in the total number of hospital beds, and the respective utilisation rates of such beds;

(ii) the respective numbers, percentages of increase in the numbers and corresponding specialties of new beds in the private hospitals, as well as the percentages of increase in the numbers of doctors and nurses, broken down by hospital;

(iii) the numbers and bed days of local residents and non-local residents using private hospital services, as well as the percentages of increase in such figures; if it does not know the data, how the authorities carry out the service and manpower planning, and whether they will request the private hospitals to provide the relevant data; and

(iv) whether the number of new beds in the private hospitals can alleviate local residents' demand for healthcare services in the public sector; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(b) the development of public and private hospitals in the next three years, including:

(i) the respective numbers of new beds to be added to public and private hospitals, together with a breakdown by hospital and specialty;

(ii) the respective numbers of additional specialists, general practitioners and nurses required for public and private hospitals to tie in with the beds to be added; and

(iii) the impact of the beds to be added in the private hospitals on the demand for public hospital services and turnover rate of healthcare staff; if it does not know the impact, of the reasons for that?



     My reply to the two parts of the question is as follows -

(a) In planning for its inpatient service and number of beds, the Hospital Authority (HA) will take into account a host of factors, including the growth and change of population in different districts and the projected service demand for various specialties, etc.  Notwithstanding the reduction of the total number of beds in HA in the past few years, HA has provided more general inpatient beds and enhanced services in the Kowloon East and New Territories West Hospital Clusters in view of service need of different districts, thereby increasing the number of patients served by HA.  In the past five years, the number of discharge and deaths of general inpatient of HA has increased by about 13.7%.

     The hospital beds reduced by HA in recent years are mainly psychiatric beds.  The reduction of beds followed the implementation of a number of initiatives by HA in recent years to strengthen the support services for mental patients in the community, which has resulted in a decrease in the demand for psychiatric inpatient service.  At the same time, HA has enhanced its ambulatory care and community service, and strengthened the follow-up and support to discharged patients.  All of the above mentioned measures have helped alleviating the demand for inpatient service.  The number of beds in HA public hospitals and the bed occupancy rates are set out in Annex A.

     For private hospitals, a total of some 700 additional hospital beds were opened between 2006 and 2009 in various specialties, such as medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, orthopaedics and traumatology as well as clinical oncology, etc.  With these additional beds, the overall service capacity of our healthcare system has been further increased to meet the growing demand for healthcare services.  The changes in the number of beds of each hospital are set out in Annex B.   Compilation of the statistics on the number of beds for 2010 is still underway.

     Between 2006 and 2010, there was an increase of some 120 additional full-time resident doctors and 1,200 additional nurses in private hospitals.  The total number of beds in private hospitals and the bed occupancy rates during the aforesaid period are set out in Annex C.

     At present, private hospitals are required to furnish the Department of Health (DH) with data on the utilisation of obstetric service by non-local residents in private hospitals on a regular basis.  DH will consider whether it is necessary to collect information on the utilisation of other specialist services.

(b) As regards public hospitals, as mentioned above, HA takes into consideration a number of factors when planning the provision of public healthcare services, such as the projected demand for healthcare services having regard to population growth and demographic changes, the growth rate of services of individual specialties, and the changes in healthcare services utilisation pattern, etc.  To cope with the projected increase in demand for hospital service in certain districts, HA will open an additional 21 general beds in the New Territories West cluster in 2011-12.  Furthermore, a number of ongoing hospital development projects will also provide additional beds in the coming years.  These include the North Lantau Hospital (Phase 1) to be completed in 2012, the expansion of Tseung Kwan O Hospital to be completed in 2013 and the Tin Shui Wai Hospital projected to be completed by 2016.  It is estimated that the above projects can provide a total of about 600 beds.  HA has been closely monitoring the wastage of staff and made regular assessment on the manpower requirements for healthcare personnel in light of the service expansion.  In the past few years, HA has been allocating additional resources to address manpower issues.  In 2011-12, HA will continue to recruit additional healthcare staff to meet the service demand, which include about 330 doctors and 1,720 nurses.  At the same time, HA will implement a series of measures, including the creation of additional promotion posts and strengthening of professional training, with a view to improving staff retention, boosting staff morale and strengthening manpower.

     As regards private hospitals, based on information available to DH, private hospitals with service expansion plan initially aim to provide a total of some 250 additional hospital beds in 2013-14.  The actual number of beds and the types of services involved as well as the manpower required are still under planning by the relevant hospitals.  Private hospitals are required to submit an application to DH before their new beds can be commissioned.  DH will ensure that the private hospitals concerned can provide suitable manpower and equipment for provision of services.

     Over the past years, the Administration has proceeded with the planning to increase the number of training places for doctors and nurses to cope with the future development of healthcare services.  It is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of medical graduates and nurse graduates in the next few years.  For doctors, the student intake of the two faculties of medicine has increased from 250 to 320 annually in the 2009-10 to 2011-12 triennium.  As for nurses, the number of nurse graduates is expected to reach about 1,800 this year, including graduates from local universities (including University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded programmes and self-financed programmes), HA nursing schools and local private hospitals.  In the next few years, it is anticipated that there will be approximately 2,000 nurses each year available for recruitment.  We will continue to encourage tertiary institutions to increase student places for the relevant healthcare professions.  HA will also strengthen its manpower training accordingly.

Ends/Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Issued at HKT 13:02


Print this page