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LCQ3: Kowloon East Cluster

     Following is a question by the Hon Wong Kwok-kin and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (October 26):


     According to the information of the Hospital Authority (HA), in 2009, the Kowloon East Cluster (KE Cluster) with its catchment area covering Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O, served a population of 954,000, which was the fourth highest catchment population among the seven hospital clusters; and 13.4% of its catchment population were aged 65 or above (i.e. 127,836 persons in total), which was the third highest among all clusters.  However, the funding allocated to the KE Cluster in 2010-2011 was only $3.2 billion (accounting for 10.1% of HA's total allocation), which was the smallest amount of allocation among all clusters.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council, whether it knows:

(a) given that the population size of Kwun Tong District accounts for more than half of the catchment population in the KE Cluster, and the population in the district comprises mainly the grassroots and the elderly, who have a strong demand for public healthcare services, yet the allocation to the KE cluster was obviously smaller, the reasons for that;

(b) among the population in the KE Cluster's catchment area, the number of people who sought medical consultations in other clusters over the past five years; whether HA will, in the light of the population profile in the catchment area, re-deploy more resources to cater for the growing demand for public healthcare services from the grassroots and the elderly in that cluster; if it will, the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) the current progress of the plan to reserve land at Kai Tak for the construction of the Kai Tak Hospital; the expected time of completion and commissioning of the hospital; the specific details of the facilities and services to be provided by the hospital, as well as the expected number of persons to be served annually?



(a) When allocating resources to various clusters under its resource allocation and service planning mechanism, the Hospital Authority (HA) will take into account factors such as its priority service areas, service needs of the community, provision of primary and specialist services, new service programmes and initiatives etc, in addition to the population and demographic profiles of various regions.  HA will also adjust its funding allocation to various clusters having regard to their respective expenditures for implementing new service programmes, staff training, updating equipment and purchasing drugs etc, so that the clusters can provide suitable services to the public.

     To cope with the increasing service demand in the region, HA has allocated additional resources to the Kowloon East (KE) Cluster over the past few years to provide about 60 additional beds and implement a number of service improvement initiatives.  These include provision of additional cataract surgeries, enhancement of clinical oncology services, and introduction of palliative care for patients with end stage renal disease etc.  In 2011-12, HA will set up a new cataract centre in Tseung Kwan O Hospital and continue to enhance specialist services in the KE Cluster, including psychiatric service, antenatal and postnatal services etc.

     On the other hand, the Administration will continue to allocate additional resources to improve facilities of the KE Cluster.  The expansion of Tseung Kwan O Hospital (TKOH) will be completed in 2013.  By then, the number of inpatient beds and day beds in TKOH will increase to 636 and 140 respectively, and the number of consultation rooms in the specialist outpatient department will increase to 70.  Other services and facilities of the Hospital will also be expanded accordingly to meet its increased service capacity.  Taking into account the long-term service needs of the Kowloon East region and the views of local residents reflected to the Administration through the Kwun Tong District Council, the Government will support HA to expand the United Christian Hospital.  New facilities and services to be provided under the expansion project include a cancer centre in the KE Cluster, an ambulatory centre and rehabilitation/convalescent beds.  Facilities such as the accident and emergency department, intensive care unit, operation theatres and specialist outpatient clinic will also be expanded.  HA will seek funding approval in accordance with the established procedures, with a view to commencing the works as soon as possible.

(b) In general, cross-cluster utilisation of public healthcare services is very common among patients and is not a phenomenon unique to the KE Cluster.  The reasons for cross-cluster uitlisation of services varied among patients.  For example, some patients have been arranged to receive services at specialist centres in other clusters under HA's referral mechanism; and some others who have moved home wish to seek cross-cluster services in the hospitals they used to attend in order to be followed up by the same team of medical staff.  Cross-cluster utilisation of services is more noticeable in the Kowloon clusters given their high accessibility by transportation.

     According to the figures of HA, among the cases involving inpatients living in the KE Cluster, the percentage of those using services in other clusters dropped from 32% in 2006 to 27% in 2010.  Among the cases served by the KE Cluster in the past five years, about 16% to 18% each year involved residents of other clusters.

     As mentioned above, HA takes into account factors such as population and demographic profiles, demand for and utilisation of services of various regions in the planning of services and facilities and the allocation of resources for the clusters.

(c) A site has been reserved in the Kai Tak Development Area for hospital use, including the development of a Centre of Excellence in Paediatrics (CEP).  We have reached an initial consensus on the scale, facilities and areas of the CEP.  The Administration will brief the Panel on Health Services of the Legislative Council (LegCo) on the detailed timetable, estimated completion date, target number of patients, as well as estimated cost of the CEP after we have completed examination of the relevant issues.  We plan to seek funding approval from the Finance Committee of the LegCo in 2012.  Other medical projects to be launched at the site are under study and preliminary planning, and no specific proposals are available now.

Ends/Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:41


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